Can You Tell if Someone Turned Their Read Receipts Off?

Many popular messaging applications offer ‘Read Receipts.’ This is an indicator that lets the sender know their message has been delivered and read. These notifications will appear within the messaging application in some form or another.

Users who prefer to monitor their messages will benefit from Read Receipts while others may want to maintain anonymity when it comes to their messaging activities. How can you tell if someone has turned their Read Receipts off?

The answer to this question varies depending on the type of messaging service used. Below, you will find a list of the most popular messaging applications and how the Read Receipt system for each work, providing insight into whether someone has turned off this function.

Message Settings

Most major messaging platforms feature some capability for Read Receipts in 2020, but not all of them make it easy to turn them off—or to tell if someone has turned them off on their end. Here’s how each major messaging platform works in 2019.

Of course, one way to know if Read Receipts are off is if the recipient responds back to you without ever being alerted that the message was read.

iMessage

iMessage makes things simple. It enables read receipts by default but allows users to customize their read receipts. If you send via iMessage to another iPhone, you will see the blue bubble in the chat window. Underneath you will see the status, Sent, Delivered, Read.

iMessage settings allow users to turn on Read Receipts for certain contacts while keeping others turned off. Assuming you only see the word “Delivered” in grey under the message you’ve sent, the recipient has turned their Read Receipts off.

If the bubble is green, it means the recipient isn’t using an iPhone which means read receipts will not work.

iMessages

(Want to know how to turn your read receipts on or off on iPhone? Check out our tutorial article on read receipt settings for iPhone.)

Messages (Android)

One of the newer features of Android phones is Rich Communication Services (RCS). This function allows Android users to see Read Receipts similar to Apple’s iPhone. Although it is not available on all Android models and versions, this may be something you’ve come across.

Once you have Chat (Google’s own marketing name for RCS), you’ll finally be able to view typing indicators and read receipts with those who also have RCS enabled on their phone.

Read receipts can be disabled within the Chat settings in Messages. If someone has read receipts disabled, the checks won’t appear within the app.

Signal

Signal shows status messages by default, although you can turn it off if you wish.

  • A single checkmark shows the message was received by the Signal server.
  • Two checkmarks mean it has been delivered to the recipient. When those two check marks turn blue, it means the recipient has read your message.

If the checkmarks don’t turn blue, they may have turned read receipts off.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp also uses the checkmark system to show message status. Like Signal, you can also turn off read receipts if you want to.

  • One gray checkmark means your message was sent.
  • Two gray checkmarks mean it was delivered.
  • Two blue checkmarks mean the message has been read. You can press and hold the message to see what time it was read if you really need to.

If the two checkmarks stay gray, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook messenger read receipts work much the same as the other messaging applications mentioned. Facebook Messenger uses circles.

  • A blue circle means your message is being sent.
  • A blue circle with a checkmark means it has been successfully sent.
  • A filled blue circle with a checkmark means it has been delivered.
  • A profile pic under the message means it has been read.

If that profile picture doesn’t appear, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.

Facebook does not offer users an option to turn off Read Receipts from inside the application. There are workarounds if you’d like to keep your message reading activities anonymous. Read our article on turning off read receipts in Messenger.

Telegram

Telegram also provides read receipts by default and allows you to turn them off if you want. A single green checkmark means the message has been received.

Two green check marks means your message has been read.

If you don’t see that second green checkmark, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.

Instagram

Instagram DMs have a very simple read receipt system. If your message has been opened; the word “Seen” will appear beneath the message. If you’re in a conversation with multiple people, then an eye icon along with the Instagram name of the person who has seen your message appears.

If you don’t see the “Seen” text or the eye icon, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.

Snapchat

On Snapchat, when your message reaches your correspondent’s inbox, the word “Delivered” will appear on the app. Once they’ve actually opened the message, it will read “Opened”.

Snapchat doesn’t allow you to disable the ability to see if a Snap or a message is open, so if you don’t want to use a platform with read receipts, don’t use Snapchat. On the other hand, if you want to communicate with someone who doesn’t like read receipts but does have a Snapchat, you’ll know for sure when they opened your message within Snapchat.

Bumble

Bumble doesn’t offer Read Receipts. If you’re looking for more information about Bumble’s Read Receipts check out our tutorial for a full discussion of read receipts in Bumble.

Tinder

Like Bumble, Tinder’s chat does not readily offer Read Receipts. For information on how Tinder handles read receipts, check out our tutorial article about read receipts in Tinder.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn does offer users the option to turn off Read Receipts. Once a message is read; the recipient’s profile photo will appear below the message. If this profile picture doesn’t show, but the person has responded it’s likely their Read Receipts have been turned off.

See our tutorial article about how to tell whether someone read your message in LinkedIn.

The great read receipt debate

There is actually a vigorous debate about Read Receipts and whether it is better to use them or turn them off. Both sides of the argument have credible reasons for their stance and it is often genuinely difficult to choose one side over the other.

The case for using read receipts

Read receipts are useful for those who’d like to ensure they’re notified when their messages have been read. They verify delivery and set your mind at ease. They hold you accountable for replying and maintaining dialog with the other person. The use of these notifications may encourage us to maintain relationships with other people and dissuades us from going hermit and not interacting with others.

Using read receipts eliminates uncertainty. You know your message has been read and digested. You know it didn’t get lost. You know the other person has read your message and therefore will not be uncertain about whether it arrived or not. For some people, this uncertainty can bring about serious anxiety which can be avoided by using read receipts.

The case for turning read receipts off

The case for turning read receipts off is a simple one. It stops you from being a prisoner to your phone and to other people’s needs. Having your every move followed, watched and analyzed by someone is not just creepy, it’s unpleasant. The accountability point made above also works against using read receipts. It makes you feel as though you have to reply even if it isn’t convenient. That you have to say something even if it doesn’t mean anything to stop the other person feeling anxious.

In other words, read receipts makes you put someone else’s needs above your own. In an ideal world, your needs would be equal to others but in this instance, they would be subject to that other. You should be able to reply when you want, how you want rather than beholden to a little checkmark.

Real-life happens and you should not feel obligated to others just because you may not want to be wedded to your phone every second of the day.

2 thoughts on “Can You Tell if Someone Turned Their Read Receipts Off?”

Avatar Abdulrahman Alfujeir says:
I would suggest that the Apps developers start working on a feature where they allow the user to have a white list of contacts who are allowed to receive a read report where the check marks will turn to blue color. I think this is a fair solution to satisfy both sides. From my point of view, all users who turn off this feature would love to give a read report to some names on their contact list; such as family members.
Avatar Mary says:
If I have a smart phone lgstylo4 and. And the. Messages marked read but then I sent him another one and he answered but that message did have read but I’m sure he read it

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