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Tech tips

Apple how-to: Turn off read receipts on your iPhone and iPad

Your smartphone comes with many privacy and security features you should be utilizing, and they’re being updated all the time. Tap or click here for new iPhone and Android safety features to turn on.

iMessage is Apple’s own instant messaging service that’s been around since iOS 5. iPhone users can exchange messages that are end-to-end encrypted over Wi-Fi or cellular connection. iMessage also has higher limits for file sizes. This is why a video sent from one iPhone to another will typically look better than one sent between an iPhone and Android device.

One other feature of iMessage is the ability to track delivery and provide read receipts. While it’s nice to know when your message has been delivered, you may not always want people to know when you’ve read their message. Here’s how to turn off this feature.

A safety feature

With iMessage, you can see when another user read your message and they can see the same when they message you.

While useful, read receipts can be distracting. You may find yourself checking your phone over and over to see if your message has been read. It can also pose a safety issue. People can get angry for being left “on read,” hounding you for a response after you’ve opened their message.

Fortunately, you have the option to turn off read receipts for all conversations or individual ones you choose. If you’ve turned on read receipts for all conversations, you can still turn them off for individual ones — and vice versa. With read receipts off, senders can only see that their messages were delivered.

NOTE: Read receipts aren’t supported when using sending a message via Short Message Service (SMS). That’s code for a regular text message. For example, if you send a message from your iPhone to your friend’s Android phone, you won’t be able to see when they read your message. They also don’t work in group texts.

RELATED: Tech tip: What really happens when you unsend a text on your iPhone

Turn off read receipts for some or all of your contacts

Here’s how to turn off read receipts for all your conversations on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Go to Settings > Messages, then turn Read Receipts off.

Here’s how to turn off read receipts for individual conversations on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Go to Messages and open a conversation.
  • Tap the contact’s name at the top of the screen.
  • Toggle off Send Read Receipts.

Here’s how to turn off read receipts for all your conversations on your Mac:

  • Go to Messages > Settings and click the iMessage tab.
  • Deselect Send Read Receipts.

Here’s how to turn off read receipts for individual conversations on your Mac:

  • Open Messages and select a conversation.
  • Click the info button in the top-right corner, then deselect Send Read Receipts.

You may also like: Privacy tip: How to clear all the places you’ve been from Apple Maps

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