How to Turn off Read Receipts Using iMessage on an iPhone to Protect Your Privacy
iPhone users can turn off read receipts to protect their privacy when using the iMessage app. When you turn off read receipts on iMessage on your iPhone, that protects your privacy and activity while using your own device – because there is never a guarantee who is watching. iMessage is a secure messaging app. It lets all iPhone, Mac, and iPad users send and receive encrypted messages with other Apple devices. However, that does not apply when you are messaging someone who is using another operating system like an Android phone.
RE:ATED READ: How to Get Started With Encrypted Messaging Apps
IMessage read receipts are a convenient feature. When a phone has read receipts turned on the sender knows that the message recipient received the message and has opened it. When a user turns read receipts off, the sender only knows the message was received by the other device but not if it was opened or read by a person. This can be a convenient feature for parents or loved ones who want to know that the other person is okay, even when they don’t have the time to respond.
Although it’s not like spyware, read receipts can also be a bit of a stalker feature if the recipient does not realize they have read receipts enabled.
The default setting for read receipts is set to “off.”
Even on iPhones ,regular SMS text messages (the ones with green bubbles) do not send or receive read receipts.
Encrypted means the messages are sent as secured and unintelligible text and can only be decrypted. But if you have read receipts turned on, you are giving away a bit of private information about your activity. IMessage is encrypted but only when messaging someone using an iOS device. An important part of secure messaging apps is that both the sender and recipients both use the same app for communications. That is because the encryption and decryption keys are specific to each messaging app. IMessage, Signal, WhatsApp are all examples of secure messaging apps. If one person on a thread does not have the same app, then the message contents are not secured.
You may not want friends, family, or co-workers knowing when your phone is on and that you have read their messages. This can cause your contacts to send follow-up messages asking, “Why aren’t you replying?”
When You Have Read Receipts On, Other iPhone Users Can
- See that you’re typing
- What time you read their message
So, there is not denying that you have not seen a particular message
This might not be a level of data privacy that you are okay with.
How do iMessage Read Receipts Work?
You can control if someone can see whether you read their message or not. If you have read receipts on and you read the message the sender will see “read at 2:15” unless you haven’t seen their message of course. If you have not read the message or have read receipts turned off, then it will say “delivered at 2:15” instead.
If you have read receipts off, it will say “delivered at 2:15”, no matter if you have read it or not.
How to Turn off Read Receipts on an iPhone for iMessage
- Open your iPhone
- Go to Settings
- Go to Messages
- Toggle read receipts to on or off
If you message with a lot of Android phone people then you might want to use an additional secure messaging app like Signal, WhatsApp, or WeChat? These apps have a larger, global audience. You message will be secure as long as the recipient is also using the same app.
What Happens When You Turn off Read Receipts?
When you turn off read receipts, then no one will be able to know that you have seen their message. Turning them off doesn’t work retroactively. If your device has already sent a read receipt, then this cannot be undone.
Can You Turn off Read Receipts for One Person?
- Yes. You can turn off read receipts for one person only
- Open iMessage
- Open an individual message in the Messages app
- Tap the “i” (info) button in the top right corner
- When you have read receipts turned on for everybody, this is toggled on
- Toggle “Send Read Receipts” off for this contact