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

17 Comments
  • one two three delete me.
  • Andrew, put on your big boy pants and stop whining already. If she hasn’t responded to you, she ain’t interested,,,the damn two blue ticks aren’t gonna change the outcome
  • No read receipts for me. In the past, people saw that I read their text, didn't respond within minutes, and they text me again asking why I didn't reply yet. Networks and services are reliable enough these days that read receipts for text are pointless. If you want a real time conversation, give the person a call.
  • You sure are obsessed with this.
  • 👍He really is.
  • Mine are on and I like when others leave them on. Not because I always need a response but because if I'm giving someone information (where to be, what time something is happening etc) its nice to know they actually saw it. Okay, I let everyone know the restaurant changed for tonight. The read receipt tells me they saw it. I don't need a response for something like this but without the receipt I'd then be looking for one.
  • The situation you described isn't as strong an example for leaving read receipts on as you probably think it is. Simply indicating a message as "read" doesn't indicate it was acknowledged or confirmed. When making plans to meet with someone, a response should be sent to indicate agreement or confirmation. Texting someone to meet somewhere and receiving no response and only seeing that it has been "read" should be considered the opposite and indicative that the person doesn't wanna meet. Could you imagine telling someone in person that you will be going to such and such and they simply stare you in the face without acknowledging what you said? It would be a nuisance. You have no clue whether they are going to show up.
  • I've never had the "feature" turned on with any of my phone and never will. Don't like it, don't text me.
  • I have it off on chats and emails. You don't need to see if I read it. That's like putting a camera in my home so when you want to come over, you can see if i'm home.
  • Privacy is one of our core American tenants.
    The more privacy we give up, the more we lose control, as is playing out in our political arena with censorship and bias from big tech.
    So I give very little thought to read receipts and how they affect my life or the lives of the people I communicate with. I couldn’t care less about how me having RR’s off affects someone else, or how it affects me.
  • Nobody needs to know anything. I respond when I want. People need to abandon feelings already.
  • I don't even see this as an option in my preferred chat app.
  • Lmao 😂, this spoiled child is back whining about this yet again. Aaand, to be more disingenuous, most of the replies he highlights in this article are pro read receipts. When in fact, most of the responses he received in his initial article were negative responses against read receipts.
  • I turn it off. People take you not responding to their message right away to personal
  • Turn them all off, people don't need to see when I read a message
  • I turn that off and typing indicators...no thanks.
  • Thanks for reminding me to turn all this crap off...