Beta cells assume a fundamental role in maintaining blood glucose homeostasis through the secretion of insulin, which is contingent on both beta cell mass and function, in response to elevated blood glucose levels or secretagogues. For this reason, evaluating beta cell mass and function, as well as scrutinizing how they change over time in a diabetic state, are essential prerequisites in elucidating diabetes pathophysiology. Current clinical methods to measure human beta cell mass and/or function are largely lacking, indirect and sub-optimal, highlighting the continued need for noninvasive in vivo beta cell imaging technologies such as optical imaging techniques. While numerous probes have been developed and evaluated for their specificity to beta cells, most of them are more suited to visualize beta cell mass rather than function. In this review, we highlight the distinction between beta cell mass and function, and the importance of developing more probes to measure beta cell function. Additionally, we also explore various existing probes that can be employed to measure beta cell mass and function in vivo, as well as the caveats in probe development for in vivo beta cell imaging.