Most iPhone users know about the handy, or annoying, little feature in your phone’s setting that lets people know when you read their messages.
I tend to think of leaving your read receipts on in the same way I think about sharing your location in Snapchat or Find My Friends - I’m just not ready to be that connected.
I was beyond thrilled when the iOS update allowing me to turn on read receipts for specific message threads came out, and I can appreciate why people leave their read receipts on for all of their messages, but that’s just not me.
This is a topic I’ve been on the fence about since the “read receipts” feature was released in the fall of 2011. I’ve gone through phases of keeping it on and turning it off, but I know myself and I know I’ll read someone’s message and would prefer to respond when I have more time or just not respond at all because I have nothing to say, and the world doesn’t always view that the same way I do.
I’m the kind of person who puts their phone on airplane mode when they’re studying and leaves their phone of silent for a majority of the day but is still accountable, punctual, and not scared of commitment. I just find myself at peace and sane when the option of having someone know I read their message and didn’t respond is something within my control.
Throughout my “read receipts” journey, I’ve made mental notes of the memorable kinds of people who leave this feature on.
1. The person who has no idea that their read receipts are on.
I’m the kind of person who lets everyone know their read receipts are on unless I know they are on intentionally, and sadly, I get left on ‘read’ half the time.
The person who doesn’t know their read receipts are on is usually the person who doesn’t know what read receipts even are, like my mom. Sorry, mom – don’t worry, I turned it off for you.
2. The punctual, planned, accountable person.
Who probably uses a shared online calendar and actually unsubscribes from emails they no longer want, rather than just reporting them as junk.
If people only knew the unreal amount of anxiety that I get every time someone tells me that they keep their read receipts on because they want to be held accountable…but I'm also really jealous. These people usually know how to respond to people right away and don't overthink every message they send.
3. The busybody who doesn’t have time to respond to texts.
…but expects you to know that their read receipt acts as a formal confirmation that they have seen what you wrote and acknowledge it. “‘We’re still on for 7 p.m.?’ Read at 5:06 p.m.,” does not confirm that you will be somewhere at 7 p.m.
We get it, you're swamped.
4. The people who turn on their read receipts, so they don’t have to say, “k.”
Are we 12? Well, probably. But I see you, and your toxic technological weapon. You definitely get my blood boiling for a few minutes, I’ll give you that.