Enable read receipts

Editions supported: Read receipts are available only in Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government. Compare editions now

A read receipt is an email notification delivered to the sender when a recipient opens (and presumably reads) an email. The receipt confirms that the recipient saw the message and records the time. See Requesting read receipts for more information.

As an administrator, you specify whether users in your organization can request or return read receipts. If you enable read receipts, you can limit which senders users can return receipts to. For example, you might allow them to return receipts only to senders within your organization. You can also specify whether Gmail sends the receipt automatically when a recipient opens the message or asks recipients to approve sending the receipt; see Returning read receipts for more information.

To enable read receipts

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console
     
  2. Click Google Apps > Gmail > Advanced settings.   
  3. In the Organizations section, highlight your domain or the organizational unit for which you want to configure settings (see Configure advanced settings for Gmail for more details).
     
  4. In the Email read receipts section, specify which senders your users can return receipts to.

    The default is Do not allow email receipts to be sent, which disables both requesting and returning read receipts.

    You can Allow email read receipts to be sent to any email address, or you can restrict responses to only addresses in your organization and addresses in a white list (see the next step).
     
  5. If you selected Allow email read receipts to be sent to all addresses in my organization as well as the following email addresses, enter any external email addresses to which users can return read receipts.

    Separate email addresses with commas. You can enter up to 100 addresses; each address can have up to 256 characters. If you don't include any addresses, users will only be able to return receipts to other users in your organization.
     
  6. Specify whether to send the receipt automatically or to prompt the recipient to send the receipt.

    If you selected Allow email read receipts to be sent to any email address, users are always prompted for whether to send the receipt, subject to the limitations noted in Returning read receipts. If you restricted the users who can return receipts, you can have Gmail send the receipt automatically when the recipient opens the message; to do so, uncheck the check box Prompt the user for each read receipt request.
     
  7. Click Save changes at the bottom of the screen.

Read receipts work across most email systems, so that users can get notifications from recipients using other email systems that support read receipts. However, the behavior of the receipts may differ depending on the recipient's email software and how they access the message; for example, the receipt may be sent automatically (without asking for the recipient's approval) if the recipient opens it using an IMAP client, POP client, or a Google Apps Sync client. Some non-IMAP mobile email systems may not return receipts at all. To protect users' email addresses, Gmail only delivers read receipts for messages sent to the user's address, not messages sent to group mailing lists or aliases.

Do not rely on read receipts for certifying mail delivery. Although read receipts generally work across email systems, you may sometimes get a receipt for an unread message or not get a receipt even though the recipient has read the message.