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How to turn iPhone read receipts on and off

You may consider read receipts an invasion of your privacy.

Published onMarch 26, 2024

An iPhone read receipt is the Apple equivalent of WhatsApp’s blue checkmarks, showing someone on iMessage that you’ve viewed their latest text. While the feature is often useful, it can sometimes create social friction by giving the impression that you’re ignoring someone, whether or not that’s true. Here’s how to turn iPhone read receipts on and off for everyone and only specific people.


To turn iPhone read receipts on and off, go to Settings > Messages, then 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 an iMessage conversation or their entry in the Contacts app. Scroll down, and you'll see the option to toggle receipts.


How to turn iPhone read receipts on and off

imessage read

It’s easy to disable read receipts from iOS 16 and newer versions completely, and you can always re-enable them later.

Go to Settings > Messages. Scroll down to Send Read Receipts, and toggle the option off. You can reverse course the same way.

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 like your spouse, but not your boss? With iOS 16, it’s possible to use receipts selectively. Here’s how.

Open the Messages app, tap on a conversation you want to change read receipts for, then tap on the person’s profile icon at the top of the screen. Alternately, if you don’t have a conversation running with someone, go to their entry in your Contacts app. If you scroll down in a Messages profile, you’ll see this:

ios send read receipts individual

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

When should you not use iPhone read receipts?

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

You may be wondering under what circumstances you should use read receipts. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preferences, your communication style, and the nature of your relationship with the people you’re talking to. Here are some situations when it would be a good idea to avoid read receipts, though:

  • When you want to maintain your privacy, and/or have peace and quiet.
  • If you’re busy and often find yourself without the time to reply to messages immediately. People who feel like they’re regularly being ignored will get offended, and if a message is emotional in nature (say, a breakup text), then a receipt without an immediate reply can make a tense situation even worse.
  • If your boss is sending you messages, a read receipt suggests they can expect a response soon. That’s probably fair within working hours, but beyond that scope, you’ve got a life of your own to lead. Disabling read receipts gives you plausible deniability.

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