If you want to know whether or not an email you’ve sent in Gmail has been read, you’ll need to turn on read receipts. Here’s how.
We’ve all sent emails to friends and colleagues and waited for a response that’s never arrived. While rejection is always painful, there is a way to check whether any emails you send are read by their recipients.
This is thanks to read receipts, which let the sender know if an email is opened (and when). While Gmail does support this feature, it is limited to certain work and school-based Gmail accounts. Standard Gmail accounts can use third-party services to overcome this issue, however.
To enable and use read receipts in Gmail, here’s what you’ll need to do.
Support for Read Receipts in Gmail
Standard Gmail accounts (such as those created for free) aren’t able to send or receive read receipts using built-in methods. This is a limitation of the account itself, with read receipts disabled in an effort to limit their use by spammers.
If you have an organizational Gmail account (such as a Google Workspace account), you can send and receive read receipts. These accounts are usually provided by schools and workplaces, for instance.
Sending and receiving read receipts between organizational Gmail accounts will work. It isn’t foolproof, however, as a recipient can still decline to send a read receipt, or delay sending it until they next re-read the message.
Read receipts also won’t work for users who send emails to group lists or if your Gmail account administrator disables the setting. You may also find that read receipts also fail to work in certain third-party email clients.
If this is the case, you’ll need to use a third-party option like Mailtrack, which you can install and use by following the steps below.
How to Request a Read Receipt in Gmail
If you’re using an organizational Gmail account with support for read receipts, you can request them in any email you send. However, read receipts sent this way will only work with other supported accounts.
On PC or Mac
To request a read receipt in Gmail on a Windows PC or Mac, open Gmail in your web browser and sign in. Once you’ve signed in, press the Compose button to begin creating a new email.
In the pop-up, you’ll see the most recent viewing history for your email. Depending on your Mailtrack plan, you’ll also see a wider history log that includes how often (and when) your recipient has opened the email.
Using Gmail Effectively
While Gmail read receipts are a good way to check that people are reading your important emails, use them sparingly. There are other ways you can use Gmail more effectively, however. For instance, you can add contacts in Gmail for people you contact often or block email senders who prove to be a nuisance.
You can also bulk forward your emails to others (or to another email account you own) to clean up your inbox. If you want to retract an email in Gmail, you better be quick or increase the undo send reaction time to give yourself some additional breathing space.