How to Disable Read Receipts for iMessages on iPhone Devices

iMessage is the default messaging app on iPhones that allows users to send messages over Wi-Fi or cellular data to other iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac users. A key feature of iMessage is read receipts, which show the sender when you have read their message.

While read receipts can be useful, many users prefer to disable them for privacy reasons or to reduce messaging anxiety. Fortunately, you can easily turn off read receipts in the Settings app on your iPhone.

Why Disable Read Receipts

Here are some common reasons why iPhone users disable read receipts for iMessages:

  • Privacy – Read receipts allow others to see when you have read their messages. This can feel like an invasion of privacy for some users.
  • Messaging anxiety – Seeing “Read” receipts can create pressure to respond immediately, even if you’re busy. This can cause unnecessary stress.
  • Avoid confrontation – If you read a message but don’t respond right away, the sender may get offended. Turning off read receipts avoids this confrontation.
  • Control messaging – You may want to review and prepare responses before the sender knows you’ve read their messages. Disabling read receipts allows you to do this.

How to Turn Off Read Receipts on iPhone

Turning off read receipts in iOS is simple:

For All Contacts

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap on Messages
  3. Turn off the switch next to Send Read Receipts

This will disable read receipts for all your iMessage contacts.

For Specific Contacts

You can disable read receipts for individual contacts as well:

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Tap on the contact’s name at the top of the message thread
  3. Turn off Send Read Receipts

Repeat this for each contact you want to disable read receipts for.

On Mac Devices

To disable read receipts on a Mac:

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Go to Messages > Preferences
  3. Uncheck Send Read Receipts

What Happens When Read Receipts Are Off

When you turn off read receipts:

  • Senders will see “Delivered” under their messages instead of “Read”
  • You can read messages freely without others seeing a read receipt
  • There will be no read timestamp showing when you read the message
  • You maintain control and privacy over your messaging

The sender’s messaging experience doesn’t change much, but disabling read receipts gives you more control and reduces messaging anxiety.

Should You Keep Read Receipts On?

While disabling read receipts has its benefits, there are also good reasons you may want to keep them enabled:

  • Confirmation – Read receipts provide confirmation that an important message was received and read. This can give peace of mind.
  • Expectations – Some people expect read receipts by default for iPhone messaging. Keeping them on avoids potential confusion.
  • Reciprocity – If you want to see when others read your messages, it’s fair to have yours on as well.
  • Close relationships – With close friends and family, read receipts can help you feel connected.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision based on your priorities and messaging preferences. Don’t hesitate to disable read receipts if you feel they are doing more harm than good. You can always turn them back on later if you change your mind.

Other Important iMessage Settings

In addition to read receipts, there are a few other important settings you should review in the Messages app:

Send as SMS

If this setting is enabled and the iMessage service is unavailable for some reason, your messages will be sent as regular SMS text messages instead.


You can set messages to automatically expire after 1 year or 30 days to save space.

Keep Messages

Choose if you want to keep messages forever or for a shorter duration like 30 days or 1 year.


Configure options for sending and receiving regular text messages.

Take a few minutes to review these settings to ensure Messages works the way you prefer.


The read receipts feature of iMessage, while useful in some situations, can also create messaging anxiety and erode privacy. Fortunately, disabling read receipts is quick and easy to do right from the Settings app.

Simply open Settings > Messages and toggle the Send Read Receipts switch off. You can also disable read receipts for individual contacts only as needed.

Disabling this feature provides more control over your messaging experience and privacy. But you can always re-enable it anytime if you change your mind.

Take a minute to decide if read receipts are right for you. Don’t hesitate to turn them off if you feel they do more harm than good for your particular iPhone messaging needs.