The transparency of modern communications is both a blessing and a curse. It means you get instant satisfaction or frustration from knowing your message has been delivered. But then the curse of overthinking the fact they haven’t responded to your message within a millisecond of seeing it. There are many psychologists who recommend turning off to avoid this but can you tell if someone turned their read receipts off?
Much depends on the app you are using. Most messaging apps have some kind of delivery and read receipt but some differences in how they work. I’ll cover a few of the most popular in this article. I will then discuss the reasons those psychologists suggest turning off read receipts as the reason you haven’t seen a reply yet might not be about you.
Users who prefer to monitor their messages will benefit from Reading 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?
Most major messaging platforms feature some capability for Reading 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 alerted that they read the message.
iMessage makes things simple. It too enables read receipts by default but has the capacity to turn them off. 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. If the bubble is green, it means the recipient isn’t on the iPhone which means read receipts might not work. If both bubbles are blue and the status stays at Delivered, they may have turned it off.
iMessage settings allow users to turn on Reading 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.
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 shows status messages by default, although you can turn it off if you wish.
- A single checkmark shows that they receive the message through the Signal server.
- Two checkmarks mean to the recipient get the message. 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 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 that it is delivered. Two blue checkmarks mean that they read your message. 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.
WhatsApp also uses the checkmark system to show message status. Like Signal, you can also turn off it if you want to.
- One gray checkmark means your message was sent.
- Two gray check marks mean it was delivered.
- Two blue checkmarks mean that they read your message. You can press and hold the message to see when they read if you really need to.
If the two checkmarks stay gray, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.
Facebook messenger read receipts work much the same as the other messaging applications mentioned. It uses circles.
- A blue circle means your message is being sent.
- The blue circle with a checkmark means that it is successfully sent.
- A filled blue circle with a checkmark means it has been delivered.
- A profile pic under the message means they read it.
If that profile picture doesn’t appear, the recipient may have turned it 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 also provides read receipts by default and allows you to turn them off if you want. A single green checkmark means the message will receive.
Two green check marks mean that they read your message.
If you don’t see that second green checkmark, the recipient may have turned read receipts off.
Instagram DMs have a very simple read receipt system. If they open your message; 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.
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 reading 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 doesn’t offer Read Receipts. If you’re looking for more information about Bumble’s check out our tutorial for a full discussion of it in Bumble.
Like Bumble, Tinder’s chat does not readily offer Read Receipts. For information on how Tinder handles it, check out our tutorial article about it in Tinder.
LinkedIn does offer users the option to turn off Read Receipts. When you read the message 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.
The great read receipt debate
One of the many debates that never seem to go away is whether you should use read receipts 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 it eliminates uncertainty. You know it didn’t lose. 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 it 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 it. 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 wed to your phone every second of the day.
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