Consider this scenario: you’re conversing with someone on WhatsApp. After a point, you start doing something else but receive a message just before closing the app. 

The other person can see two blue ticks. It means they can see that you’ve read their message. While some don’t mind, some perceive it as “seen-zoning.” 

This setting is known as read receipts, and luckily, WhatsApp allows you to toggle this setting on or off, even though it’s on by default. 

WhatsApp launched it in 2014, and its adoption has been mixed. Some choose to have it on, while some have it off to maintain neutrality. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about this feature, how it works, and some frequently asked questions. 

What are read receipts on WhatsApp?

Read receipts indicate whether a recipient has read your message, and it lets you know through two blue ticks on WhatsApp. 

In case you don’t already know: 

  • One tick on WhatsApp indicates that a message is sent successfully
  • Two gray ticks indicate that a message has been delivered successfully to your recipient
  • And two blue ticks on WhatsApp messenger mean that the recipient has read your message

Read receipts are enabled by default when you set up your WhatsApp account and can be toggled through the privacy settings. 

They apply to 1:1 messages, groups, and voice notes. 

In the first scenario, both parties should have it enabled to see blue ticks. For example, if you have it enabled and the other person doesn’t, you won’t be able to see whether they’ve read your message and vice-versa.

However, turning it on or off doesn’t impact group messages. It’ll show two blue ticks when all group members have read your message. Similarly, it doesn’t affect voice notes either. You can see a blue microphone icon whenever your recipient completely listens to your audio message. 

If you don’t see blue checks, and you see a WhatsApp single tick for a long time, your recipient would’ve either disabled the option, blocked you, not opened the message, or have connection issues. 

Tip: If you want to know exactly when your recipient has read your message, you can easily do so by selecting the message and clicking on Info. There, you can see when your message was delivered and read. Note that this works only when your recipient has the option turned on. If they don’t, you’ll see a blank line under “Read.” 
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Toggle read receipts on WhatsApp

In this section, you’ll learn how to turn WhatsApp read receipts off or on, depending on your device. 

How to turn off read receipts on WhatsApp

Let’s look at how to turn off read receipts on Android, iOS, and Desktop. 


  • If you have an Android-based mobile device, head over to the More Options section in the top right corner (indicated by three dots)
  • Select Settings and Choose Privacy
  • Find “Read Receipts” and click to turn it off


  • On iOS devices, you can head over to the Settings app 
  • Head over to WhatsApp and choose Privacy 
  • Next, click to turn Read Receipts off


  • On WhatsApp desktop, you can follow the same steps as above to turn off read receipts, regardless of whether you use it on Windows or Mac 

How to turn on read receipts on WhatsApp 

To turn on Read Receipts, follow the same steps above depending on what device you’re using. 

Note that toggling read receipts do not affect group and audio messages. 

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Do read receipts affect WhatsApp statuses? 

Toggling read receipts doesn’t affect your WhatsApp status; you’ll be able to see whoever has viewed it. However, you can toggle Status settings, limiting who can view your statuses and who cannot, or even adding a few people to a list and making the status visible only to that group.

Can you know whether a message is read even if read receipts are off? 

Officially, no, you cannot know for sure whether a message has been read by a recipient if their read receipts are turned off. 

WhatsApp provides full control to the user to control their read receipt settings, and when it’s disabled, you will not receive any form of confirmation indicating whether they’ve read a message.

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WhatsApp read receipts FAQs

Here are some common frequently asked questions about WhatsApp read receipts.

1. What happens when you turn off read receipts on WhatsApp?

Turning off read receipts on WhatsApp disallows a person who sends you a message to know whether you have opened and read it. Put simply, they’ll not be able to see two blue double-ticks. And you won’t be able to either. Both you and the recipient will only be able to see two gray ticks.

2. Can someone see your WhatsApp if they turned off read receipts?

Yes, they’ll be able to see your messages regardless of whether they toggle the read receipts option on WhatsApp. The difference is that they’ll not be able to see whether you’ve read their message, which works both ways. 

3. How to know if a WhatsApp message is read without a blue tick?

There’s no official way to know if your message is read without enabling the option. A workaround is to preview messages from your phone’s notification bar without opening WhatsApp. There are also third-party applications that provide this functionality, such as AirDroid. 

4. Why should you turn off read receipts?

You should turn off read receipts if you want to read a message and respond to it later without letting the other person know you’ve read it. 

5. What is the difference between reading and seeing on WhatsApp?

The WhatsApp message info screen provides many insights into whether recipients have read or just seen your messages. The former means that the person has read the message or seen a photo, video, or played an audio file. In case you send an audio recording and the screen displays “seen”, it means that the recipient has seen your message with the audio recording but hasn’t played it yet. 

6. Can you turn off read receipts for one person?

No, WhatsApp doesn’t allow you to disable read receipts for only one person selectively. If you turn off read receipts from the options menu, nobody will be able to see that you’ve read their message and vice-versa. 

7. What happens if you have read receipts off and the other person doesn’t?

It means the recipient cannot see whether you’ve read their message. Read receipts work only when both parties have it turned on. However, it’s enabled by default on groups and shared audio files. 

8. Why do people turn on read receipts?

People may turn on read receipts to let the other person know they have received a message and read it. 

9. What is the purpose of a read receipt?

WhatsApp Read Receipts let senders know that the recipient has read their message. 

10. Can you ignore read receipts?

Yes, you can ignore a read receipt if you choose to. However, some people do not appreciate if a message has been read and not replied to. In these cases, turning it off is better to maintain neutrality.

"Cooby created a massive impact on our business. Our teams became more efficient and effective in managing clients on WhatsApp."

Pascal Lammers
Head of Digitization, Mission Mittelstand GmbH

About the author

Sagar Joshi
Content Marketing Manager at Cooby

Sagar Joshi strongly believes that content marketing is a way of helping people. It motivates him to write well-researched content pieces on sales, marketing, and customer experience. In his free time, you can find him reading a book, learning a new language, or playing badminton.

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