How To Tell if Someone Got your Text Message

Sent an SMS and are waiting around for them to reply? Sent something controversial or emotional and can’t bear waiting to see if they have read it yet? Curious to know whether the message recipient is just busy or ignoring you? Can you even tell if someone got your text message?

How To Tell if Someone Got your Text Message

There is good news and bad news if you want to know if someone got your text message. If you use iOS 10 and above and the recipient has enabled read receipts, you can tell if they read your message. If you use a third-party messaging app such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp you can tell if they received and have read your message. If you use the stock Android message app, you cannot tell if they got your message.

Enable read receipts in iOS

The ability to send a read receipt to individual contacts was introduced in iOS 10 as far as I can tell. It is also present in iOS 11 and hasn’t changed between the two. As you can enable it on an individual basis, this is a good way to handle the more needy of your friends and set their mind at ease, or not, depending on what’s going on.

To enable read receipts:

  1. Launch iMessage and select a contact.
  2. Select the ‘i’ icon in the top right of the screen.
  3. Toggle ‘Send Read Receipt’ to on.

You can toggle on or off as you see fit if you need to manage the expectations of an individual. You just need to remember you enabled it.

Messages will show no message as it is being sent, show Delivered once the message is delivered to the recipient. It will then show ‘Read TIME’ once the message has been accessed and read. Obviously where you see TIME, the actual time will be shown.

Read receipts and Facebook Messenger

If you want to tell if someone got your text message in Facebook Messenger, read receipts are enabled by default. Whether you use the standard messenger or Messenger Lite, the end result is the same.

If you see an empty blue circle, your message is being sent. If you see a blue circle with a tick, it has been successfully sent. A filled blue circle with white tick means the message has been delivered and the recipients profile image will appear once the message has been read.

The downside with this is when you are busy doing something else or when you just aren’t in the mood or don’t have the energy to reply to that person. They are going to be notified of the delivery and of your reading the message and will be expecting a reply.

There is a way around it though. You can either use airplane mode once the message has arrived so you can read it without sending the read receipt or read it as a notification. Once airplane mode has been enabled you have to read the message, then quit iMessage before disabling airplane mode otherwise iMessage will send the receipt once it has a connection.

Read receipts in WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another ubiquitous messaging application that uses delivery and read receipts by default. Most of the time that’s fine and works in our favor. Occasionally though, it can be a bit of a pain. In the same situation as above, where you don’t have the time, energy or inclination to reply right away, this setting can work against you.

WhatsApp uses smaller ticks. One gray tick shows you the message was sent while a double gray tick shows when it is delivered. When those ticks change to blue, you know the message has been read by the recipient. You can even select the message to find out exactly what time it was read!

As a workaround, you need to use the airplane mode trick again. As a message is delivered, switch your phone to airplane mode, read the message, quit WhatsApp and turn off airplane mode. You cannot avoid showing the message as delivered but you can stop WhatsApp reporting back that the message was read.

Other chat apps

Other chat apps like GroupMe, Kik, WeChat and others have their own versions of read receipts. It is often necessary for mobile apps as networks can be unreliable or spotty. The app and the sender needs to know their messages are getting through.

While I cannot guarantee it will work, I would guess that using airplane mode would work on any chat app that utilizes read receipts. As you are disabling network access from outside the app, it has no idea why or how it cannot report back, just that it cannot.

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