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How to turn iPhone read receipts on and off

You may consider read receipts an invasion of your privacy.
March 20, 2023

An iPhone read receipt is the Apple equivalent of WhatsApp’s blue checkmarks. They show someone on iMessage that you have viewed their message. However, this feature may annoy you because you may not be ready to respond, or you may not want to respond. So having your phone tell the other person you’ve seen the message, then ignored it, may cause some unintended friction. Here is how to turn iPhone iOS 16 read receipts on and off, for both everyone and for only specific people.


To turn iPhone read receipts on and off, go to Settings >Messages and scroll down to Send Read Receipts. Toggle the feature on or off, depending on your preference. To enable or disable read receipts for individual contacts, go to their avatar in the iMessage conversation or their entry in the Contacts app. Scroll down, and you will see the option to turn the read receipts on or off. Note that only iOS users can use this function. Any messages from Android phones will not see read receipts.


How to turn iPhone read receipts on and off

imessage read

It’s very easy to disable read receipts completely on iOS 16 (and then enable them again later, if you have any second thoughts.)

Go to Settings >Messages. Scroll down to Send Read Receipts and toggle it off to disable the function. You can toggle it green again to enable it later if you wish.

ios messages send read receipts toggle

How to turn iPhone read receipts on and off for specific people

People using an Apple iPhone stock photo 18
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

What if you only want to give read receipts to specific contacts? On iOS 16, it is possible to enable the function for some people but not for others. Here’s how.

Go to your Messages app and tap on the conversation you want to change the read receipt for. Then tap the person’s avatar at the top of the screen. If you don’t have a conversation running with the person, go to their entry in your Contacts app. If you scroll down, you will now see this.

ios send read receipts individual

Toggle Send Read Receipts on or off, depending on your preference.

When should you not use iOS 16 iPhone read receipts?

Apple iMessages on iPhone stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You may be wondering under what circumstances it is appropriate or useful to use iPhone read receipts? It all comes down to personal choice, your communication style, and the nature of the relationship with the people you’re exchanging messages with. Here are some situations when it would be a good idea to not use read receipts.

  • When you want to maintain your privacy and/or have peace and quiet.
  • If you are busy and don’t have the time to reply to the message immediately. Not telling the other person you’ve read their message lessens the chance of them being offended that you’ve temporarily ignored them. If the message is emotional in nature (say, a breakup text), then a read receipt without an immediate reply can make a highly charged situation even worse.
  • If your boss is sending you messages, sending a read receipt indicates that you have read their message and they can expect a response soon. If the message has been sent outside working hours, or when you are already busy, then you will be expected to do whatever the message tells you to do. Disabling read receipts gives you plausible deniability.