Can People With an iPhone Tell if You Got Their Messages?

By Melly Parker

IMessage sends free messages on a Wi-Fi connection.
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The message system in iOS is designed to give you confidence in your correspondence. One feature iMessage offers is a read receipt, a type of notification that gives a message sender more information about the status of the message he sent. A sender knowing whether you've read his message is dependent on the settings you've selected on your iPhone.

Message Notifications

One message notification that always appears is the "Delivered" notification. It indicates that the message has reached the recipient's iMessage inbox. The other notification that appears below a message is "Read," which indicates that the recipient has opened iMessage and viewed the message in question. If you start to reply to a message in iMessage, a speech bubble icon that displays an ellipsis will appear at the bottom of the messages list to let the other person know you're in the process of responding.

Read Receipts

Read receipts can be turned on and off so that you can adjust how you want iMessage to function with the messages you send. If you toggle the feature off, then the message status will always say "Delivered," even if you've read the iMessage in question. If you toggle it to "On," then the message status will update to "Read" when you've seen the message. Decide which one to use based on what level of privacy you want. The selection you make applies to every iMessage conversation in the app; you can't adjust settings for individual users.

Making Status Changes

To change whether a person can see that you've read his message, tap "Settings" on your home screen and then tap "Messages." Adjust the slider bar next to "Send Read Receipts" to "On" or "Off," depending on whether you want read receipts to be active or inactive. When they're active, a timestamp showing when a message was read is added to the message, along with a "Read" notification for the sender to see.

Other Viewing Methods

When an iPhone user receives a push notification that alerts him to a new iMessage, he can read part of the message text without opening the app. In a similar vein, an iPhone user can read part of an iMessage text on his lock screen without a read receipt alerting the sender that it has been seen. To display an active read receipt, the iMessage app must actually be opened.