iMessage has been a very welcome feature to iOS for the past couple of years. It gives everyone with an iPad/iPhone/iPod touch or a Mac a means of communication. I use it to chat with friends around the world, all for free. I can even send photos and short video clips. Read receipts is a fairly undiscussed feature of iMessage. When you set up your iDevice, you were given a prompt whether to turn on or off Read Receipts (the default choice was ON). Did you know the implications?
What are Read Receipts?
It lets those you are communicating with know that you have read their message to you. Apple took a page out of BlackBerry Messenger and now offers a way for people to find out if the recipient took the time to open the message and see it. The problem is, when you turn on this feature, you are setting it for others to see that you’ve read their messages, not have the ability to see whether they’ve read your messages. They would have to turn it on for that to happen.
So, you can notice that it does not go both ways. They see that you’ve read their message, but if they don’t have this feature turned on, you will only be notified that your message to them was “delivered” (and you will not know if they have seen it).
Read Receipts: Not for me
I just recently turned Read Receipts off. Personally, I find it can be slightly annoying that I know that someone has read my message (especially if it’s an important question), and has decided to ignore it. Perhaps they were busy and couldn’t respond at the time. But if it takes days for them to respond, you might have a right to feel annoyed.
Now that I’ve turned it off, I won’t worry about offending anyone if I don’t reply right away. Put in a more obtrusive way, they won’t know if I am waiting on giving them a reply.
How to turn them off
To turn this off, go to “Settings”, scroll down to Messages and toggle “Send Read Receipts” to off. Remember to do this on all your iDevices if you have more than one. I would suggest turning this off if you tend not to respond right away to your messages. However, you if tend to reply immediately after getting messages, having it set to ON might not be a bad thing. If people know your tendencies, it might be beneficial for them to think: “Oh, he hasn’t seen it yet, that’s why he hasn’t replied.”
Facebook has the same feature as Apple in both its Messages app and directly on the site, but I’m not sure if it can be turned “off” as easily. Facebook will give you the time that your message was “seen” (as opposed to “read”). There seems to be a third-party solution to solve this, but it doesn’t seem to work on Mobile, which is where the majority of people use Facebook.
Luckily, Apple does give us the choice. I guess, bottom line is that if they’re really a friend, common courtesy will hopefully take place and both parties will realize that a response will be given as time or motivation allows.
Thoughts? Do you like this feature or have you already turned this off? Does it bother you when you know that people have read your messages and do not reply? Let us know in the comments!