How to Check Who Has Been Reading and Viewing Your Gmail Emails

Key Takeaways

  • Gmail does not have a built-in feature to check who has read your emails, but you can use third-party email tracking tools or request read receipts.
  • Email tracking tools embed invisible pixels or links in your emails to notify you when the recipient opens or clicks on them.
  • As a Google Workspace administrator, you can use the investigation tool or content compliance rules to view users’ email content for auditing purposes.

As an experienced technical writer with expertise in email productivity and privacy, I understand the importance of knowing whether your emails have been read and viewed, especially in professional settings. While Gmail does not offer a native feature to check who has opened your emails, there are several methods you can employ to gain this valuable insight.

Using Third-Party Email Tracking Tools

One of the most popular and effective ways to track email opens and clicks is by using third-party email tracking tools. These tools work by embedding an invisible pixel or a trackable link in your email. When the recipient opens the email or clicks on the link, the tracking tool receives a notification, allowing you to see when and where your email was accessed.

Some popular email tracking tools for Gmail include:

  • Mailtrack: This free Chrome extension adds checkmarks next to your sent emails in Gmail, indicating whether they have been opened or not. You can hover over the checkmarks to see the exact time and number of opens.
  • Mailbutler: Mailbutler is a paid email tracking tool that provides real-time notifications when your emails are opened or links are clicked. It also offers additional features like email scheduling and mail merge.
  • Bananatag: Bananatag is another paid email tracking solution that integrates with Gmail. It provides detailed analytics on email opens, clicks, and location data.

To use these tools, you typically need to install a browser extension or add-on for Gmail. Once installed, the tracking feature is automatically enabled for all outgoing emails, and you can view the tracking data within your Gmail inbox.

Requesting Read Receipts (for Google Workspace Users)

If you are a Google Workspace user (formerly G Suite), you have the option to request read receipts for your emails. When you enable this feature, Gmail will notify you when the recipient opens your email.

To request a read receipt in Gmail, follow these steps:

  1. Compose your email as usual.
  2. Click on the three dots at the bottom of the email composition window to access more options.
  3. Select “Request read receipt”.
  4. Send the email.

Keep in mind that read receipts are not foolproof, as the recipient’s email client may not support this feature or may be configured to block read receipts. Additionally, read receipts only confirm that the email was opened, but they do not provide information about who specifically opened it or whether the content was read.

Auditing Email Activity (for Google Workspace Administrators)

If you are a Google Workspace administrator, you have access to powerful tools that allow you to audit and investigate email activity within your organization. These tools can be particularly useful for compliance, security, and legal purposes.

Using the Investigation Tool

The Google Workspace investigation tool enables administrators to search for and view Gmail log events, including email content. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Log in to the Google Admin console using your administrator account.
  2. Navigate to Security > Security Center > Investigation tool.
  3. Select “Gmail log events” as the data source.
  4. Add conditions to filter your search, such as date range, sender, recipient, or subject line.
  5. Click “Search” to find the emails you want to investigate.
  6. Click on the message ID or subject to view the email content.

The investigation tool provides a comprehensive audit trail, allowing you to see when emails were sent, received, or classified as spam. You can also take actions like deleting messages, marking them as spam or phishing, or sending them to quarantine.

Using Content Compliance Rules

Another option for Google Workspace administrators is to set up content compliance rules. These rules can automatically flag emails that meet certain conditions and send them to an admin quarantine for review.

To create a content compliance rule:

  1. Log in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Navigate to Apps > Google Workspace > Gmail > Content compliance.
  3. Click “Create a rule”.
  4. Define the conditions for the rule, such as specific keywords, attachment types, or sender/recipient domains.
  5. Choose the action to take when an email matches the rule, such as sending it to the admin quarantine.
  6. Review and save the rule.

Once the rule is in place, any emails that match the conditions will be automatically quarantined, allowing you to review and take appropriate action.

It’s important to note that accessing users’ email content should only be done for legitimate business purposes and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Google Workspace administrators should exercise caution and follow proper procedures when auditing email activity.


While Gmail does not have a built-in feature to check who has read your emails, there are several methods available to gain this valuable insight. Third-party email tracking tools provide a convenient way to track email opens and clicks, while Google Workspace users can request read receipts or leverage administrative tools for auditing and compliance purposes.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s essential to respect privacy and use these features responsibly. Always ensure that you have the necessary permissions and follow applicable laws and regulations when accessing or tracking email activity.