We’ve gone a long way since the early days of SMS, when messages were limited to 160 characters and there were no stickers to be found. Today’s chat apps are jam-packed with new capabilities, such as read receipts, which let you know when your sent messages have been read—and your contacts know when you’ve received their messages as well. If you’d prefer not be so open, here’s how to turn off those pesky little snoops.
Disabling read receipts has the side effect of making it impossible to tell when other people have glanced at your messages. You may be completely content with this compromise, but you may have to accept it in exchange for keeping people guessing about whether or not you’ve succeeded.
If you don’t want read receipts to appear in your WhatsApp conversations, go to Settings (on Android, it’s behind the three dots), then Account, Privacy, and Read Receipts. It’s worth noting that read receipts are always enabled in WhatsApp group discussions, so there’s no way to avoid them there.
On Telegram, there is no way to disable read receipts. You can only hide your online/offline status from specific people or from the general public: On Android, touch the menu button (upper left), then Settings, or just Settings on the main screen on iOS. Then select Privacy and Security, as well as Last Seen & Online, from the drop-down menus.
Another app that does not enable you to turn off read receipts is Instagram. However, you can hide your overall activity status so that no one else knows when you last used the program. Toggle the relevant toggle switch on or off by tapping your account icon (bottom right), then the menu button (top right), then Settings, Privacy, and Activity status.
If user don’t want read receipts in your Twitter DMs, open the app, tap your profile image (top left), then Settings and privacy. The Show read receipts toggle switch may be found under Privacy and safety, then Direct communications. Requests (incoming messages from persons you don’t follow) do not have read receipts
Because there is no option to turn off read receipts in Facebook Messenger, like several other apps we’ve highlighted here, you’ll have to live with them. To some extent, you can safeguard your privacy by hiding your current status in the app: To find the Show when you’re active toggle switch, tap your account avatar (top left), then choose Active Status.
There are a few strategies Techy wants you to know about when it comes to reading messages without letting anyone know. The first is to read them using the notification preview and then dismiss the alert without opening the app—though this is less effective for lengthier messages because you won’t be able to see the entire message.
To adjust the amount of text displayed in a chat notice on Android, go to Settings and then Notifications: Enabling Notifications on Lock Screen and Sensitive Notifications will ensure that you see as many of your messages as possible.
On iOS, go to Settings, then Notifications, then Show Previews, and make sure it’s set to Always.
Individual chat apps can also be selected from the Notifications tab and set to always display incoming chat alerts as full banners on screen.
The second tip is to put your phone in airplane mode before launching your chat app and reading the message—the read receipt will not be transmitted if there is no connection to the outside world. This solution relies on the incoming message being cached locally (some apps do this, others don’t), and it also means you won’t be able to do anything with your phone until you take it out of airplane mode, at which point the read receipt will be delivered.