How to Turn Off Read Receipts on iMessage

iOS users may notice how iMessage, by default, shows the sender a timestamp when the recipient has read their message. This feature can come in handy at times, but some people might find it distracting. If you’re looking for ways to turn off read receipts in the iMessage app, you’ve come to the right place.

How to Turn Off Read Receipts on iMessage

Fortunately, doing so is a relatively straightforward task. Apple provides the option to turn off read receipts for all contacts or even just for individual ones. This article will explain how to turn off read receipts on both iOS and Mac devices.

SMS vs iMessage

The iOS and Mac messaging app can send and receive two message types:

  • SMS Messages: These are delivered through your standard network carrier and are charged according to your plan. The SMS message is represented by a green text bubble and can be sent to anyone, regardless of device.

  • iMessages: iMessages are instant messages you send by using your data connection or Wi-Fi. To send an iMessage, both the sender and the recipient need to be using a Mac or an iOS device. On iMessage, you can see when the sender types the message and when they have read them. These messages appear in a blue text bubble.

How to Turn Off Read Receipts on iMessage for Everyone?

Here is how to turn off read receipts across devices, starting from Mac:

Turning Off iMessage Read Receipts Completely on a Mac

The newer macOS X Messages app has the iMessage protocol. Turning the read receipts on and off is relatively straightforward and follows a few easy steps. You can also disable these settings for all contacts or a few individuals, just as you can do with an iPhone. The screenshots below show the MacOS Sierra, but the instructions are similar for newer versions as well.

Note: If you use the iMessage app on multiple devices (iPhone and Mac,) you must disable the read receipts on each device.

Follow the steps below to disable the read receipts on Mac for all contacts:

  1. Launch the Messages app on your Mac.

  2. Select Messages from the Apple menu.

  3. Click on the Preferences option.

  4. Once in the Preferences, head over to the Accounts tab and click on your iMessage account on the left-hand sidebar.

  5. If enabled, disable the Send read receipts box.

  6. Exit the Preference window.

You have now disabled the read receipts on your Mac for all contacts.

Turning Off iMessage Read Receipts for Everyone on an iOS Device

To disable read receipts for everyone on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll have to use the Settings app. Here are detailed steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Scroll down and open the Messages folder.

  3. Tap on the Send Read Receipts switch to turn the feature off. The button should be white once turned off.

You have now turned off the read receipts for your iMessages.

Turn Off iMessage Read Receipts for Individual Contacts

Turning Off iMessage Read Receipts for Individuals on Mac

You can enable and disable read receipts on a per-message basis on macOS Sierra.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your Mac.

  2. Head over to the chat for which you wish to disable read receipts and click on the Details option in the upper right-hand corner of the chat window.

  3. Uncheck the Send Read Receipts box.

Note: Whether the box next to Send Read Receipts is checked or not depends on the global read receipts configuration (check the “Turn off iMessage Read Receipts for Everyone” section above).

Turning Off iMessage Read Receipts for Individuals on iOS

iOS 10 and later lets you turn off and on message read receipts for individual contacts.

  1. Launch the Message app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Open a message thread in Messages (any thread will do) and tap on the i button in the upper right-hand corner of the interface.

  3. Have a look at the Send Read Receipts section. To turn off read receipts for a specific contact, the button should be toggled off.

You have now switched off the read receipts for individual contacts on your iPhone.

When you text people after disabling the read receipts, they will see a Delivered status to know their message has reached you. If your data connection is off, they will see the Sent status next to the message as usual. However, there will be no way for them to know whether you’ve actually read the message.

Note that there could be possible downsides of turning the global read receipt toggle on while disabling individual chats. Every time you add a new contact to your mobile device, the read receipts will be enabled by default if the contact is an iPhone user.

To avoid this situation, it may be best to switch the global read receipt button in the Settings app. This will stop everyone from receiving these kinds of notifications, even new contacts. You can then re-enable the settings individually for the contacts you want.

Additional FAQs

Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the read receipts in the iMessage app.

What Happens When You Turn Off iMessage Read Receipts?

The iMessage app’s default settings send a Read receipt to the sender for every message read by the recipient. When you turn off iMessage read receipts, the sender can no longer tell whether you opened their message. Instead of seeing the Read receipt, it will now say Delivered next to these messages.

There is no way for the sender to reactivate the Read receipt on their end.

How to Tell if Someone Turned Off Their Read Receipts?

There is no notification or sign that tells you your contact has turned off this setting. You’ll instead need to figure it out by the way they respond to your messages. You just need to look at your chat history and find the last unanswered message you sent to your contact. If you don’t see the Read receipt under the message and the two checkmarks under the message are still grey, it most likely means the contact has turned off this setting.

Also, if the last message you sent has a Delivered status, and you receive a new message from that person without the previous text indicating it has been Read, it’s another sign they have turned off the read receipts.

Why Would Someone Turn Off Their Read Receipts?

There are more than a few reasons why someone may want to turn off read receipts on iMessage, or any other messaging platform for that matter:

1. Your Contacts Won’t Think You’re Purposely Ignoring Them

There may be times you read a message but don’t feel like responding to it at that particular time. The recipient will still see a Read status next to their message, which might make them think they’re being intentionally ignored. Hiding the read receipt can help make it seem as if you simply haven’t read their message yet.

2. People Can Assume How Much Time and Effort You Put Into the Reply

Sometimes when you read a message, you need to mull it over, analyze all the content, and only then are you finally ready to reply. Many text messages are, most of the time, not that important and may not require much thought. But by hiding the read receipt, you won’t make it evident that you were taking all that time to craft just the right response.

3. Live Without Time Stamps

We keep obsessing over timeliness everywhere we go. Maybe you want to give yourself a break and not keep track of how long someone takes to answer your messages. Read receipts can even become a source of anxiety for some people, especially if they see their message was read but not responded to promptly. Turning these notifications off can make your (and the sender’s) life a bit less stressful.

Read Receipts Off, Privacy On

Turning the read receipts off will take off the pressure of having to reply to messages right away, and you’ll have a piece of your privacy back. If, on the other hand, you prefer having these settings on most of the time, you can always disable them temporarily or only switch them off for individual contacts.

Whether you’re an iPhone, Mac, or iPad user, you now have complete control over your read receipt settings in the messaging app. Just remember to apply them to each device on which you use iMessage.

Do you prefer turning the iMessage read receipts off for everyone or only for individual contacts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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