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What do the WhatsApp checkmarks mean?

Those ticks actually tell their own message.
December 17, 2021
A WhatsApp app icon closeup on a smartphone.

When sending a message to someone on WhatsApp, you will have noticed that the sending of the message is quickly followed by one grey tick (also known as a checkmark). Then a second grey tick. Finally, those two grey ticks turn blue. What do they mean? Those WhatsApp checkmarks actually tell us a lot.

Read more: How to use WhatsApp — a step-by-step beginner’s guide


When a WhatsApp message has been sent, one checkmark means the message is on its way, and has been successfully sent. When it changes to two checkmarks, it means the message has arrived on the recipient's device, but hasn't been read yet. When those two checkmarks finally turn blue, that means the recipient has read the message.

What do the WhatsApp checkmarks mean?

There are three stages to a WhatsApp message, and these stages are categorized by a series of ticks (or checkmarks). At each stage, you can clearly see the status of your message. If the recipient of your messages is reading and responding to your messages right away, then these checkmarks will change extremely fast. But if the recipient is slow to respond, this is how to tell where things are at.

One grey checkmark

One grey checkmark means that WhatsApp has successfully sent the message on its way. But it hasn’t reached the recipient’s phone yet. How fast this changes to two checkmarks depends on factors such as the reliability of the other person’s internet, whether or not they’ve got their phone switched on, or whether or not they’ve blocked you.

whatsapp one checkmark

Two grey checkmarks

Two grey checkmarks mean that the message has successfully arrived on the other phone’s screen. However, the person has not yet read the message.

whatsapp two checkmarks

Two blue checkmarks

Two blue checkmarks mean that the message has been read. However, if this is a group chat, the two grey ticks will not turn blue until everyone in the group has read the message.

whatsapp two blue checkmarks

Read more: How to use WhatsApp Web


Is it possible to read a WhatsApp message without turning the two checkmarks blue?

Yes. If you want to read a WhatsApp message, without the sender knowing you’ve read it, switch on Airplane Mode on your phone first. This will disable your mobile internet data plan and Wi-Fi. You can then read the message without activating the read receipt function in WhatsApp and triggering the two blue checkmarks. Obviously, when you switch off Airplane Mode, the read notification will then be sent.

What does it mean if my WhatsApp message is constantly stuck on one grey checkmark?

It could simply mean that the recipient’s phone is switched off. Or that the recipient is experiencing internet problems, preventing them from accessing WhatsApp. Or thirdly, it could mean you’ve been blocked by that person. If the one grey checkmark doesn’t turn to two checkmarks within 24 hours, then it’s safe to say you’ve been blocked.