Do you turn off message read receipts in your chat apps?

Chat features in Google Messages
Chat features in Google Messages (Image credit: Android Central)

I think everyone should keep their message read receipts turned on. There are big benefits to all sides of a conversation knowing who's read which message, and the downsides are mostly rooted in unnecessary privacy fears. I feel that way, but lots of people disagree: as expected, the choice of whether to use message read receipts in your chat app(s) of choice is incredibly divisive.

Let me introduce you to some representative quotes, on both sides, from the comments section of my editorial on the matter:

I have no obligation to let people know I've read their message. If I feel a reply is warranted, I'll reply.

I leave them on, but only because the notifaction shade lets me decide if I want you to know that I've seen your message...if they change that, I'll turn them off.

Nah, I don't want the other end to be expecting a reply at the moment I read the message.

I don't think it's necessarily rude to turn off read receipts but it seems dumb to me. If the person you are chatting with is going to be offended if they see you read the message but don't immediately respond then that points to an issue with your relationship and turning off read receipts is not going to fix whatever underlying issues you have.

Not gonna happen. My phone, my rules. If you don't like it, stop messaging me. I will probably survive, and so will you.

It really is social cowardice to turn off read receipts.

Most people realize that not all messages require an immediate response and give people the benefit of the doubt that they are busy or not able to respond for whatever reason.

Not only do people have opinions on both sides of the read receipts debate, but they have strong opinions. I'm always up for a healthy debate, so I appreciate when people have an opportunity to voice their side of things.

So I want to know: do you use message read receipts in chat apps? If you do, are you upset at all when the people you talk to choose otherwise? We want to see some convincing arguments one way or the other here.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.