How to Enable Read Receipts in Gmail

Gmail Read Receipts

So you sent an important email and now can’t stop thinking about it. Did your message arrive safely in the recipient’s inbox, or did it fall foul of the spam filter? Here we’ll take the guesswork out of sending important emails by enabling read receipts in Gmail.

This guide will cover two ways to add read receipts to your Gmail account, including a third party Google Chrome plugin that adds this feature to your personal Gmail account, something that Gmail doesn’t support out of the box.

Does your Gmail already support read receipts?

First, the bad news: read notifications, also known as Message Disposition Notifications (MDN), aren’t available to all Gmail users.

If you have a personal account (e.g. an email address that ends with @gmail.com), then your account doesn’t support the read receipts feature.

By default, read receipts are only available if you use Gmail in combination with another email service. If you have a personal Gmail account, then you’ll need to skip ahead to the next section that shows how to enable read receipts using a third-party plugin.

If you’re unsure whether your account has built-in support for read receipts, then create a new email and click the little arrow icon that appears alongside the “Send” button.

How to enable Gmail’s built-in read receipts

1. For G-suite users, first log in to the Google Admin console.

2. Go to “Apps -> G Suite -> Gmail -> User settings.”

3. Under the “Email read receipts” section, select “allow email read receipt to be sent to any email addresses.”

Gsuite Enable Read Receipts 1

4. Back in your Gmail you’ll now see a “Request read receipts” option.

Gmail Request Read Receipt Option

The major drawback is that you can only request a read receipt. When the recipient opens your email, Gmail will give them the option to send you a read receipt.

If the recipient doesn’t plan to reply to your email straight away, then they can simply click “No,” and you’ll have absolutely no idea that they’ve opened your email.

MailTrack: A read-receipts solution for your personal Gmail

If you have a personal Gmail account, you can add the missing read-receipts feature using a range of third-party plugins and extensions. There are plenty of add-ons available, but this tutorial uses MailTrack for Google Chrome, as it offers free and paid plans and is easy to use.

To set up MailTrack:

1. Head over to MailTrack’s Google Chrome page.

2. Click “Install.”

3. Click the new MailTrack icon in your browser’s menu bar.

4. In the subsequent pop-up, select “Sign in with Google.”

When prompted, enter your Gmail address and password.

5. Select the account where you want to start using read receipts.

6. Review the privacy and security information, and if you approve, click “Sign In.”

7. Purchase a paid plan or sign up for MailTrack’s free plan. If you opt for the free plan, your emails will contain a “Sent with MailTrack” signature.

All emails that have read receipts enabled, also have a "MailTrack" signature.

8. Everytime you create a new email, MailTrack will be enabled by default. If you don’t want to receive receipts for a particular email, then hover over the “Sender notified by … ” message and click the little “x” icon.

You can disable read receipts, by removing the MailTrack signature.

9. Alternatively, disable read receipts by clicking the “✓✓” button and then pushing the slider to “Off.”

To disable MailTrack for a specific email, click the checkmark icon and then push the slider into the "Off" position.

10. As soon as the receipt opens this email, the message will be marked as “read” in your “Sent” folder.

Emails that have been opened, and displayed with two green checkmarks.

Depending on your operating system and how notifications are set up on your device, you may also receive a notification.

Want to disable read receipts?

If you want to disable MailTrack at any point:

1. In Google Chrome’s upper-right corner, select the three-dotted icon.

2. Navigate to “More Tools -> Extensions.”

3. Find the “MailTrack” plugin and either disable it by pushing the slider to “Off” or delete MailTrack by selecting “Remove -> Remove.”

Regardless of whether you choose to disable or delete the MailTrack plugin, you’ll no longer receive any read receipts.

Other than read receipts, you can also unsend the emails you sent in Gmail or use it offline.

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One comment

  1. “First, the bad news: read notifications, also known as Message Disposition Notifications (MDN), aren’t available to all Gmail users.”

    Next, the worse news (although most people, including myself, consider it to actually be good news): since read notifications aren’t part of the e-mail specification, most e-mail providers and clients don’t support them, and with the providers/clients that do support them, most people turn them off. Which means that for the most part, even if you do activate read notifications with Gmail, you’re still going to be SOL when it comes to finding out if your e-mails have been read.

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