Make read receipts available to users

This article is for administrators who want to enable read receipts for their users. To use read receipts, go to Know when a recipient reads your email.

This feature is available only for work and school Gmail accounts. It is not available for regular Gmail accounts. 

If you have the legacy free edition of G Suite, upgrade to Google Workspace to get this feature. 

As an administrator, you can enable users in your organization request or return read receipts. A read receipt is an email notification delivered to the sender when a recipient opens an email. To make it available for users in your organization, turn it on in the Google Admin console.

Before you begin

Decide whether you want to set limits for using read receipts. For example, you can:

  • Limit which senders your users return receipts to. For example, you might allow them to return receipts only to senders within your organization.
  • Choose either to have receipts sent automatically when a message is opened, or prompt recipients to approve sending the receipt first.

Important: Don't rely on read receipts to verify email delivery. These receipts generally work across email systems. However, it's possible to get them for unread messages or not get them for messages that recipients did read.

Step 1: Set up read receipts for your users

This is a preliminary step for administrators. To use read receipts, go to Know when a recipient reads your email.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGmailand thenUser settings.
  3. If you've created child organizations in your Admin console, under Organizations on the left, select the organizational unit you want to set up. The Organizations section isn't available if no child organizations have been created. For details, visit Advanced Gmail settings reference for admins.
  4. In the Email read receipts section, select the options that best apply:
    • Do not allow email read receipts to be sent—Turns off requesting and returning read receipts.
    • Allow email read receipts to be sent to all addresses in my organization as well as the whitelisted email addresses —Restricts responses to addresses in your domains and any external addresses that you specify.
      • Separate external email addresses with commas.
      • You can enter up to 100 addresses; each address can have up to 256 characters.
      • If you don't include addresses, users can return receipts only to other users in your domains.
    • Prompt the user for each read receipt request 
      • Check to ask users each time they open an email if they want to send a receipt.
      • Uncheck to automatically send read receipts.
    • Allow email read receipts to be sent to any email address—Allows read receipts to be requested and returned from email addresses inside and outside your organization. Users are always prompted to send a receipt.
  5. Click Save.

It might take up to 24 hours for your changes to apply to individual user accounts. You can track prior changes in the Admin console audit log.

Step 2: Request a read receipt for a message

After you follow the steps to set up read receipts for your organization, users can request a read receipt for any email. For details, go to Know when a recipient reads your email.

How read receipts work

  • The behavior of read receipts might differ, depending on recipients’ email software and how they open the message. For example, the receipt might be automatic (sent without recipient approval) if the recipient opens the message with an IMAP, POP, or Google Workspace Sync client. Some non-IMAP mobile email systems might not return receipts.
  • To protect users' email addresses, Gmail only delivers read receipts for messages to the user's address, not for messages to group mailing lists or aliases.
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