iOS 5 Tip: Enable iMessage’s Read Receipt Feature

October 12, 2011

iOS 5’s iMessage feature allows you to see whether the other person using an i-device (also with iOS 5) has received or even read your message. Heck, it even shows you whether the other person is typing!

However, the read / typing feature is turned off as default, and you’d only be able to see if your message was delivered.

To turn this feature on, simply go to Setting / Messages and turn on the “Send Read Receipts” option.


124 Responses to “iOS 5 Tip: Enable iMessage’s Read Receipt Feature”

  1. Thanks I have not seen this before. Please view my blog for more iPhone and Technology news!

  2. Samantha Says:

    Help! When I send an iMessage to someone I cannot tell if they have read my message. It only tells me that it has been “delivered”. I’ve tried with two different friends and they both have their “send read receipts” on; as do I. I have a 3GS… does this feature not work for them?

    Thank you!

    • proudgeek Says:

      That’s odd! Try with a friend who has a newer iPhone and see what happens? I haven’t heard of this problem before.

    • Matews Says:

      Samantha I have the same problem, Ive turned on read receipts and my messages never change to read when people read them, its always stock in delivered, and people I talk they have turned on read receipts. By the way I have and ipod touch 4G.

      • proudgeek Says:

        Have you tried rebooting? How about turning read back off then back on? This is very puzzling …

      • IpodLover202 Says:

        Me too!
        iPod 4g rocks

      • proudgeek Says:

        IpodLover – make sure that each of your friends / family ALSO have iOS 5 as well as have iMessage’s read feature turned on. Must be a two-way street!

      • IpodLover202 Says:

        Yes the person apparently has iOS 5 and it’s turned on. Mine is also
        Perhaps I could try texting with you?

      • proudgeek Says:

        IpodLover — hmm, strange. Try restarting each of the iDevices involved? I would druther keep my personal contact info private ;)

      • IpodLover202 Says:

        How would you reboot iMessage?

      • proudgeek Says:

        Meant rebooting each iPod / iPhone themselves by holding down the power button till you get a message asking to confirm powering off the device. Then after it completely turns off, press the power button again till you see the Apple logo. But honestly, other than this (and making sure everyone has Read Receipt turned on), I don’t know why several commentators including you are having problems getting Read Receipt when iMessaging with other folks … Growl.

      • IpodLover202 Says:

        Okay. I will try that

      • yo mama Says:

        Stop being a creeper! They will reply when they want to reply.

    • IpodLover202 Says:

      Yes It should work. My friend has as 3GS and try rebooting and turning iMessage off. I am having the same problem with my iPod Touch 4G and I know it works!
      Any help for my iPod touch?

  3. Aidan Says:

    I do not get read reciepts either and the setting is on

  4. Ran Says:

    The read receipts option is for SMS; it has nothing to do with iMessages. There are many devices out there that support read receipts.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Ran – if “Read Receipt” is off, then people who use iMessage only see “delivered” and cannot see whether the other person is typing. With “Read Receipt” on, iMessage users can see “read” and whether other people are typing.

  5. Luka t Says:

    i have an iphone 4 and have ‘read receipts’ enabled however my iMessage only shows ‘delivered’ and never ‘read’. Have been iMessaging people and their phones show ‘read’.. anyone?

    • proudgeek Says:

      That’s strange. I have an iPhone 4 and this Read feature has worked for me and everyone else I’ve been iMessage’ing with. Perhaps reboot? Verify that the other person DOES have Read Receipt enabled?

  6. Ana Says:

    The read receipt is for the other person to know that you have read their message; it will show up on their phone under the message where it typically said delivered. Apple is all about privacy so they must enable it for you to see their read receipt and for it to show up on your iMessage.

  7. Ashley Jones Says:

    ok so I am totally confused! Do I have to buy an iMessage app or what because I can not figure out for the life of me how to use this feature and my send receipt thing is on and I still cant see when people are typing me a message

    • proudgeek Says:

      Ashley – no, iMessage is built into your Messages app – the same one you use for sending SMS (text messages). If you have upgrade to iOS 5, then the Messages app will automatically detect if the person you’re messaging with is using iOS 5 too (after the first new message to that person). Then your subsequent messages will be automatically sent as iMessages – colored blue – and you’d be able to see if the message was delivered and read (if the other person has enabled read receipt too).

  8. Patricia Says:

    I have an iPhone 4 and I have that issue with iMessage as well. I have rebooted the phone and still does it. Mine however works for some people. And I can see at all times if that person is typing regardless of whether or not I get a “read” notification or not. I only have one friend that the “read” works on and her settings are the same as everyone else’s. And everyone else also has an iPhone 4.

  9. Grant Says:

    Hey guys I downloaded the new software today and the imessaging isn’t working as it should be. Like the messages arent blue, the send receipts dont work at all and my gf cnt see wen her texts to me hav been delivered n read etc. But it works fine for her with two other people n one has an iphone 4 like me.

    Any suggestions on wat i could do?

  10. likegrant Says:

    hah. grant, did your girlfriend take over typing for you mid-message? you suddenly started writing like a 14 year old girl.

  11. Lenni Says:

    What constitutes a read message? Do you actually have to open the text or does reading it in the preview and then closing also count as read since you can technically see the message?

    • proudgeek Says:

      Lenni – reading it in the Notifications preview does NOT make this a “Read” message. You have to actually open the Messages app and view this message (or its thread) to mark it as “Read” (send a Read Receipt).

  12. John Martins Says:

    You’re all getting this backwards. Enabling read reciepts does NOT inform you when other people have read your message, it informs other people when you have read theirs.

    If you want to get the “read” notifications yourself, you’ll need to ask other people to enable the feature on their phones.

  13. IpodLover202 Says:

    I have iPod touch 4g and iOS 5 installed.
    I am texting friends/family and it doesn’t show
    “read” I turned on send read receipts on and
    I can see the person typing. Only once, I have seen the “read” sign.
    Does it not work on iPod touch?
    I tried rebooting it and still didn’t work.
    Thank You!!! ;-)

  14. J Says:

    Is there a way to check if my message has been read even if the other person doesn’t have send receipts enabled? Having a fight and I am not in a position to ask her to enable it, but I would like to see when she read my message. Is there any hack or trick to it? I apologize if my question comes off as strange.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Sorry to hear about the fight :( None that I know of, even on jailbroken devices. You might be able to see “…” though. The other alternative is to switch (and convince the other person to do so too) to a different messaging app that has read receipt built in too.

  15. Ashley Leonard Says:

    Does this future cost say if your on contract. Because SMS read receipts cost for me so does this iMessage feature cost?


  16. Kate Says:

    Hi I was messaging someone on iMessage and then they said that they can see my conversation with a friend, is this possible?

    • proudgeek Says:

      Kate – not possible, unless you’re group messaging. If you were, you’d have seen “2 recipients” (or more) in the To: field at the top of the iMessage conversation.

  17. steffen Says:

    so you have to have io5 to download imessage

  18. Ninny Says:

    Im not sure how so many people can be so stupid, the setting in messages Is to allow the other person to see if YOU have read their message, not for you to see if a message sent has been read, this would require the person YOU are sending too to have this option set to on, most people prefer this set off as it’s a privacy thing, if your worried people are ignoring your messages they probably are, and if your the sort of person who gets hung up on whether your messages are being read or not then your being ignored with good reason…..get a life.

    • Katelyn Says:

      Bahahaha I agree. Freakin idiots!!

    • Becky Says:

      This is not the case.
      Me and my friend have the setting switched on, and still only shows “delivered” and not “read”
      We both have iphone 5’s and up to date software. So get your facts straight before you make such comments.

  19. nicole Says:

    how does that work because the beneath the send read receipts is says “allow others to be notified when you have read their messages”, so wouldn’t the person you are texting get the notification? and does it still work even if the person your texting didn’t activate it?

  20. richard Says:

    no the other person see’s when u heve read there message, if you want to see when they have read urs they have to enable it

  21. ben Says:

    befor you send message press star 0 hash then writ message and send you should get message back when opened

  22. Kimberly McAlpine Says:

    I did that & still certain iPhone contacts in my phone aren’t being shown as read.what do I do?Odd cause I have a iPhone 4s & so does the people I’m texting so I’m confused.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Kimberly – don’t forget that BOTH you and your contacts must have this Read Receipt enabled in BOTH iPhones’ settings. Not just yourself. Hope this helps.

  23. meghan Says:

    I have a situation where there person I am texting shows they’ve read my texts but they say they haven’t. Has this glitch happened with anyone else or are they just lying to me?

  24. Mel Says:

    Ok so both read receipts is on and I still can’t tell if they read my message . Is something wrong with my phone ?

  25. Lottie Says:

    I have turned all the stuff on it says to, to be able to see when people read my messages. I have an iphone 3gs But it’s only worked with one of my contacts that ive sent a message to and she has a iPhone 4s. Why is it not working with everyone?

  26. mary Says:

    you do understand that the read receipt feature is for when someone else sends YOU a text and you read it, it shows THEM that YOU read THEIR text. Not you sending a text and then showing that THEY read your text. That would be total invasion of privacy.

  27. Sorry if this is a double entry but my last entry seemed to have been deleted…

    Anyway, both my boyfriend and I have iPhones. Our blue messages back and forth suggest to me that we both have the updated iMessage app (I know for sure I do, not sure about him). Whenever we send messages back and forth I can always see the typing ellipses when he is in the process of writing me a message and the “sent” message underneath messages I have just sent him, but I’ve never seen the word “read” underneath any the messages I’ve sent him. I would assume he doesn’t have that function enabled, but then I always know when he is typing me a message and I thought that was something I’d only be able to see if he enabled the app for read receipts…is there something wrong with my phone that I cannot see “read” under my messages? If not, then how am I supposed to tell the difference between when something was sent and when something was actually opened and read?

    Thank you!!

    • proudgeek Says:

      Don’t forget to enable Read Receipt on BOTH iPhones. If you enable Read Receipt on yours, your boyfriend will be able to see “read” on HIS iPhone when you read his messages. Make sure he enables it on his iPhone too so you can see “read” on YOUR iPhone when he reads your messages.

      • Hey, thanks so much for getting back to me! I just enabled the feature on my phone today, but even before that I was able to see when he was typing so it makes me feel like he probably has that feature enabled on his phone but I haven’t ever asked him about it for sure.

        I’m just curious because I can see went something was sent to him, I can see when he is typing, but I never see the words “read” under anything I’ve sent to him. Seems strange to me…

  28. Jade Says:

    Is there an additional charge added to my monthly bill for enabling this feature?

  29. Anna Says:

    I do have a question about something like this (could be the same thing). I’ve never had “Send Read Receipt” but some people that send me an iMessage it shows at the bottom of my message I send back either “delivered” when I send it “read and time” when they read it and then the (…) when their replying. Everyone I’ve asked about that has told me they don’t know how that even happened or why it shows up. Why is that? It only shows up for some people, not others.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Yep, the same thing. Looks like one of you has enabled read receipt, but not the other person. Or maybe even neither of you. Even if both of you have not enabled read receipt, you’d still see “delivered” and “…”. Keep in mind that this only shows up if both of you are using iPhones / iPads / iPods / updated Macs.

      • Yolanta Says:

        I have a question
        I have now iPhone 5 had 4AM before I’m
        Told by my friends that when I’m
        Not answering their txt msg right away they r getting msg from me saying that I can’t replay now will do later
        How do I turn that off

      • proudgeek Says:

        Sounds like a Do Not Disturb setting. But the only “Reply with Message” is under Settings / Phone – and not under Settings / Messages. Strange!

  30. Says:

    yes I’m told it’s been for over a year now nobody told me before:)

  31. Yolanta Says:

    will check
    yes I know it hapend over a year now it’s been sending msg on and off

  32. Yolanta Says:

    thanks again :)

  33. Juan Says:

    Okay I done this but now my iPod touch it doesn’t shows the other person that read my message it only says delivered and I have it set up what should I do ?

  34. Mysterious Says:

    I have an iPhone for some reason i can send picture messages to some people but not everyone. I used to be able to send picture messages to them but now I can’t one has an iPhone and one has a phone thru metro pcs and one thru tmobile.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Go to the Settings app, tap Messages, and make sure MMS messaging is ON.

      If that doesn’t work, you may need to go in your network’s store (like Verizon or Sprint) and talk with a rep to make sure your messaging plan correctly includes pictures.

  35. Jenn Says:

    my imessage isn’t working, but my settings for imessage doesn’t look likethat. It only has the options for SMS/mms :/

    • proudgeek Says:

      Are you using iOS 5 or higher? Make sure you have iMessage enabled in Settings. If not, better visit your local phone or Apple store.

  36. michael Says:

    I just received the following email:

    “Dear m****,
    Your Apple ID (m**** was used to sign in to iMessage on an iPhone 4S named “W****’s iPhone”.

    May I assume from this that “W****” has decided that she want’s to view my text msgs to folks other than her? And if so, and if she un-checks “Send Read Receipts”, I will have no way of knowing when this occurs, right?
    And will there be a log somewhere, on her phone or mine, when this happens?

    Thank you,

    • proudgeek Says:

      Good question! She’d be able to read all of your new imessage (not text) messages to/from your recipients. I’d think she’d be able to turn off read receipt, altho iMessages would still show as delivered. You wouldn’t know whether she read them or not. Don’t know what you mean by log, but your iMessages would certainly be listed on hers. Or if you meant a log of who is getting your iMessages – I seriously doubt you’d be able to get it from Apple.

      If you want to prevent her from getting your iMessages, change your Apple ID password. That’d force everything to ask for the new password once again.

  37. michael Says:

    In addition I received a popup on my MacBook:

    “W****’s iPhone is now using ‘M****’ for iMessgaes.”

    This is another verification that she has decided to read my texts, right?

  38. michael Says:

    Not sure what “non-iMessage texts” are. Some other app (way) of texting? I have nothing to hide, so I’m not about to set up another system, but I do think I’ll let her swing out there in the breeze for a while before I mention it.
    Thanks for your help.

    • proudgeek Says:

      You might’ve noticed that some text messages are blue, while others are green. If they’re blue, they’re being sent as iMessages to other Apple devices (iPads, iPods, Macs, iPhones). If they’re green, they’re being sent as SMS text messages to non-Apple phones (your technologically challenged mom’s cell phone, perhaps?).

      Green text messages are being sent using your carrier (Verizon, Sprint etc)’s voice cellular plans. That’s why you pay extra for text services. iMessages, in contrast, are being sent via data via Apple’s servers and don’t count as a text message. Yes, from the same app (Messages).

      If messages are being sent as iMessages, Apple makes it easy to see copies on other iDevices – like what your “she” is doing. But if they’re being sent as “green” SMS text messages, Apple is unable to provider copies of them on other Apple devices.

      Related note: if all of your text messages are being sent as iMessages (like mine), it might be worth it to remove unlimited texting from your cellular plan. Saves you $10 a month or so.

  39. michael Says:

    And there won’t be a log anywhere either, right?

    • proudgeek Says:

      (Sorry, replied to your last comment before approving it. hope they show up in the right order.) Regarding the log: good question. I wonder if our Apple ID online account gives us info on the various devices it is being used on. RESEARCH TIME!

    • proudgeek Says:

      Apparently you can see a list of devices being associated with your Apple ID via your iTunes’s Account Info page on your computer. I don’t have my iTunes handy, so I don’t know if this works when it’s being associated only with iMessages rather than an entire device. Give that a try.

  40. Toby Says:

    I send imessages to a number constantly and i always get a delivered and read time. However the person tells me they havent read the message yet. Now is that possible of this person is just lying.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Hmmm. Maybe it’s being sent to more than one iDevice, and is being marked as read when opened on the other iDevice? Or perhaps he’s indeed just lying.

  41. spookyjess Says:

    If you have it enabled, it’s only for OTHERS to see when you’ve read their messages. Enabling the feature does NOT mean you’ll be able to see “Read #:## PM” on everyone who messsages you. You will only ever SEE the “read” message if the person you are talking to via iMessage has it enabled. Enabling it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to see when everyone reads your messages. Only if THEY have it enabled will you see it.

  42. Mel Says:

    Question…if I have turned off my send read receipts my phone still shows when the other person has read the text message. Does that mean they can see the same on their iPhone even though I’ve disabled it

    • proudgeek Says:

      Mel — No. If you disabled Read Receipt on your iPhone, OTHERS won’t know if you have read their messages or not.

      You can still see whether someone else has read his/her message, if that person has enabled Read Receipt on that person’s iDevice.

  43. H. W Says:

    What if you have parental controls? I have the read receipts but now I don’t want them!

    • proudgeek Says:

      HW – if you don’t want “read”, just slide Read Receipts off in iMessage’s settings.

  44. Adi Says:

    my question is when both you and your friend have the “show read receipts” on, does it show you at what time he read it in your time or his time? (he lives in another state) like if his time was an hour ahead (10:10) and your time was 11:10, would it show that he read it at 10:10 or 11:10? sorry if this is so complicated!

    • proudgeek Says:

      Adi – pretty sure that for you, the time would follow YOUR time-zone. And for your friend, HIS (HER) time zone would be used on his/her iPhone. So the times would be different if you compared iPhones.

  45. Jennifer Says:

    My boyfriend has the iPhone 4, but I don’t see the option for Read Receipts, I have it on my iPhone 4S, and my cousin who has the iPhone 4 has that option, but my bfs doesn’t, I don’t know why his 4 phone is different from another. iPhone 4.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Strange! Make sure his iPhone is updated to the latest iOS. Then go to Settings / Messages and make sure iMessage and Send Read Receipts options are turned ON.

  46. carson Says:

    When you do see the read receipt after you sent your message, does it mean it has definitely been read?

    Usually says ‘delivered’ then ‘read’. Is this 100% accurate? even when in a poor signal area?

    • proudgeek Says:

      Carson – pretty much accurate.

      • carson Says:

        Thank you.

        This also means the person is getting signal and should be able to be located if ‘Find my phone’ is turned on.

      • proudgeek Says:

        Carson – yep, means the person is getting signal! Sometimes signal is one thing and GPS fix is another, though.

      • carson Says:

        So you are saying that getting texts doesn’t necessarily mean the signal is the same used by the ‘Find my Phone” feature.

      • proudgeek Says:

        Find my iPhone depends on whether location services is turned on. I’m not knowledgeable about that, but I believe the “GPS fix” (to locate your iPhone) is an entirely separate signal. It’s possible to get a signal thru wifi inside a big building for data services (ie iMessage’s “read” function) yet have location services be turned off or the GPS signal be difficult inside that large building (making it hard to find your iPhone).

  47. carson Says:

    …texting uses mms and Find my Phone uses the satellite signal?
    If this is the case then you would not be able to use the internet to access email if the find my phone feature( if turned on) is not getting a signal

    • proudgeek Says:

      The “old” way to do texting (SMS) uses the phone signal. MMS uses up your data plan even if you’re using wifi. Apple’s iMessage (both text and media) uses the data signal or wifi, whichever is available (and saves our data plan if we’re within wifi range). Find my iPhone looks for a GPS signal from satellites passing overhead for a more precise fix (using Location Services), although it can give an approximate location using data cell towers and wifi router location.

  48. carson Says:

    So where signal is poor in very remote location then the Iphone is using sms texting. However the messages sent and received are blue, does this not mean it is using imessage and satellite signal if Wifi is not available? If so then Find my phone if turned on in settings would work as well?

    Just want to make certain I understand clearly.
    Very much appreciate your comments.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Right, when data signal is poor or there is no wifi, then messages are sent as SMS (green).

      Since location / GPS is a separate signal (I believe), it can be strong even where data signal is poor. And vice versa.

      So, it’s possible for Find My IPhone to not work even tho iMessage is working (blue), and vice versa.

  49. carson Says:

    Ok, thank you very much. This has been very helpful.

  50. Mara Says:

    Hi there, my iPhone is requesting read receipts from my friends android. I am. The only person he receives then from and he is the only person my phone sends them too?!? Any idea what’s happening there?

    Thanks so much!!

    • proudgeek Says:

      Mara – that’s the first I’ve heard of this happening. Weird cuz an iPhone would send a text message, not an iMessage, to an Android phone via the Messages app. Perhaps you’re using a different app, or perhaps your friend’s android phone has a piece of software that’s trying to trick your iPhone into thinking your friend has an iPhone? I don’t know the answer.

  51. AQ Says:

    4s user; is there any way to turn on read function for just one person/specify who to have it on for? Thanks!

  52. Zak Says:

    This feature is not new but am I only able to see read reciepts from others that have updated to ios5? I’m having issues with read reciepts

    • proudgeek Says:

      Zak- I think this feature was introduced in iOS 5 or iOS 6 anyway; if someone has an older operating system (!!!!) then the read function may not work.

      • Zak Says:

        Thanks for suck quick response!

        I said iOS 5 but meant 7. People I know haven’t updated to iOS 7 yet and read reciepts have always worked flawlessly. However, now that I’ve updated I do not recover the reciepts. I wonder if they themselves have to also update so I may receive em

        Thanks again!

      • proudgeek Says:

        Oh! Got it, Zak – lol. That’s a good question. Maybe the update reverted their settings to not return read receipts, maybe they just don’t want you to know if they’ve read your iMessages (grin), or maybe it’s part of a larger problem. Others are occasionally having problems sending iMessages after updating to iOS 7 (including myself), so I wonder if your problem is related.

        Often, a restart solves the problem of not sending iMessages for a while – altho people have also reset their network settings (after turning iMessage off) then switching iMessage back on. Not sure this fixes your problem, though.

  53. Errca Says:

    If I have my read receipts on but the person I’m texting doesn’t have theirs on, can they still see when I open their text? Because I can’t see when they have read mine.

    • proudgeek Says:

      Yes, they can see when you’ve opened their text, even tho you can’t see when they’ve opened your text. :-(

  54. Kayleigh Says:

    If you have preview message switched on, will the text message come up as read as soon as the text comes through? Even if you’ve only seen part of it/ all of it on the preview bit?

  55. Linds Says:

    My iMessage is set where other are notified if I read it. And I have it on but it’s not saying I read anything. Like the notify is on but it onl shows delivered. What do I do.?

    • proudgeek Says:

      Don’t forget that when you enable read receipt, you’re making it possible for other people to see when you read their messages. Other people have to enable read receipt too so that you would see when they read your messages.

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