Read receipts

Read receipts are available only for Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government customers. They are not available in personal Gmail accounts. Upgrade now.

About read receipts

A read receipt is an email notification delivered when a recipient opens (and presumably reads) an email you send. The receipt confirms that the recipient saw your message and records the time. When you view a message for which you've requested a receipt, the current status appears just below the body of the message when you view Gmail on the web.

Your Google Apps system administrator specifies whether you can request read receipts, and whether Gmail sends the receipt automatically when a recipient opens the message or asks recipients to approve sending the receipt.

Read Receipts Received screenshot

Read receipts are not delivered in the following cases:

  • The message is opened using a POP client or a Google Apps Sync client.
  • The message is opened using an IMAP client, but your administrator has not configured the feature to send receipts automatically.
  • The message is sent to a user through a group mailing list or alias. The message needs to be addressed directly to a user’s email address in order to receive a read receipt from that user.

Request a read receipt

If you request a read receipt, requests will be sent to every recipient in the To: and Cc: fields.

  1. Compose a message as usual while using the desktop version of Gmail at mail.google.com.
  2. Click the More options icon in the compose window.

    Gmail Compose More options screenshot
  3. Click Request read receipt.
  4. Send your message.

Return a read receipt

When you receive a message for which a user has requested a read receipt, Gmail may automatically send the receipt or may ask you to approve sending the receipt.

You will be asked to approve sending the receipt only if your administrator has configured the feature to ask, and only when you open the message using the desktop version of Gmail.

To approve a read receipt, follow these directions:

  1. Open and read the message as usual while using the desktop version of Gmail at mail.google.com.
  2. When you close the message or navigate away from it, you will be prompted to send a read receipt.

    Read Receipts Requested
  3. Click Send receipts or Not now.
  4. If you click Not now, you will be prompted again the next time you open this conversation.

Read receipts and other email systems

Read receipts work across most email systems, so that you can get notifications from recipients using other email software that supports 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, IMAP-based email clients may return a receipt when the message is marked as read even if the recipient does not open the message.

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.