How to Prevent People from Knowing You’ve Read Their iMessage

By default, iMessage on the iPhone and Mac show the sender when you’ve read a message. That can be handy sometimes, but not always. The good news is that the feature is easy to turn on and off.

The Messaging app on iOS and Mac devices is capable of sending and receiving two types of messages: text messages, which use your carrier’s SMS system, and iMessages, which are instant messages sent using your data connection. iMessage requires that both the sender and recipient are using an iOS or Mac device, and that a data connection is available. iMessages offer a few features that text messages do not, such as being about to see when someone is typing you a message, better group messaging, and, yes, read receipts. If you prefer that people not know when you’ve read their iMessages, we’ve got the fix for you.

Disable Read Receipts for iMessage on the iPhone

As with most things iPhone, you’ll disable iMessage read receipts using the Settings app. In Settings, scroll down and tap Messages.

On the Messages screen, tap the “Send Read Receipts” switch to toggle the feature on or off.

When you disable read receipts, people who send you iMessages will still see a status when a message has been successfully delivered, but they will no longer see that you have read the message.

Disable Read Receipts for iMessage on the Mac

The Messages app in newer versions of Mac OS X also support the iMessage protocol. It’s similarly easy to turn off read receipts in the Mac Messages app. And note that if you use both your Mac and iOS device to read messages, you’ll need to disable read receipts in both places. In the Messages app on your Mac, click Messages on the Apple menu and then click Preferences. In the Preferences window, switch to the Accounts tab.

On the Accounts tab, select your iMessage account on the left and then, on the right, disable the “Send read receipts” check box. You can then close the Preferences window.

With read receipts disabled, you can now read messages whenever you want without feeling the extra pressure to reply right away. And if like having read receipts enabled most of the time, it’s easy enough to disable them temporarily if you want to read a particular message without people knowing. Enjoy!
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