I love iMessages. In a world of smart phone and tablet parity, it’s one of the more compelling reasons to use an iPhone or iPad. This is especially true if your friends and family also use iOS. During my one year Android experiment a few years ago, it was one of the main features I missed, because the majority of my contacts used iOS. So what is it about iMessage that makes it stand out in a crowded world of messenger apps? Well there are several features that come to mind…
iMessage Read Receipts (I’ll expand more on this in a minute).
The ability to see if the person you’re texting with is currently typing.
Built into iOS, therefore making it the default messenger app for millions of iPhone and iPad users.
iMessage forwarding to other devices signed into your iCloud account–like your Mac
The ability to send and receive at multiple iOS devices using multiple accounts.
The ability to block and/or turn off iMessages from people who are not in your contacts, and sort them into a separate list.
The ability to send and receive audio and video messages
That’s a pretty robust list. I use most of these features on a daily basis, but one in particular I have a love/hate relationship with–iMessage Read Receipts.
How to Activate iMessage Read Receipts
Activating read receipts for iMessage is fairly straightforward–Settings–> Messages–> Turn on iMessage if you haven’t already, then turn on Send Read Receipts. Here’s where it gets sticky–ask anyone who used an iPad or iPhone about whether or not they chose to activate read receipts, and you will probably get a some passionate answers. For the sake of this conversation, let’s assume that we are talking about people who know about the feature and who are making a conscious decision to use it or not.
The argument for using Read Receipts
I want to make sure family members read my iMessage regarding change of plans.
I have an emergency, and need to leave a message for someone who is unavailable.
The obvious–I want to know when someone has read my message.
These are all good reasons, but unfortunately, even if the iOS Contact you’re communicating with has Read Receipts on, they’re several ways that they can circumvent this process. This can even happen accidentally, depending on how you use your iOS device.
How to read an iMessage without triggering the Read Receipt feature
If you have turned on Read Receipt, you can’t pick and choose which contacts to use it with. Having said that, if you want to look at an iMessage and either leave it marked unread so you can go back to it, to you just don’t want the sender to know you read it yet you can do one of the following…
If you have an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus, you can use the Peek feature to read a whole screen’s worth of dialogue without triggering Read Receipt as long as you don’t continue to press hard enough to Pop into the contact conversation.
If you don’t open the iMessage you can view a message you recently received in your Notification Center as long as iMessage allows Notifications and the “show in Notification Center” is on.
You can view on incoming iMessages on your Locked screen of your iOS device if “Show on Lock Screen” is on in Notifications, and “Show Previews” is on.
In conclusion, perhaps Apple needs to revisit the Read Receipt feature on iOS devices, as it has become antiquated due to the addition of features added to iOS since its introduction. What has your experience been with Read Receipts–and do you have it active on your iOS device?