Email Read Receipts: Everything You Need to Know

Email Read Receipts: Everything You Need to Know

Email read receipts are a useful tool for tracking the engagement of your email recipients. Learn more in this article.

Phoebe Brown

Phoebe Brown | Feb 1, 2023 | 6 mins read

Emails are among the most used communication tools in everyone’s professional and personal lives. According to statistics, we collectively send approximately 294 billion emails per day, and an average corporate employee sends and receives around 110 emails daily. 

Whether you’re using email to keep in touch with friends and family, conduct business negotiations, or communicate with your clients, you may find yourself in many situations when you want to know whether your recipient has read your email. 

With the read receipt feature, it’s possible to tell if someone has received your email. Here’s everything you need to know about email read receipts. 

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How to Tell If an Email Has Been Read? Read Receipts Meaning

Wondering how you can tell if your email has been received and read by its intended recipient? You can do so by using the read receipt feature. 

💡A read receipt is simply a notification sent to the sender of an email when the recipient opens and reads the message. It serves as a confirmation that the email has been received and viewed.

Read receipts work using a simple tracking mechanism. When an email is sent, a small image or code is included. The image is so small that it can’t be viewed by a regular user. As the recipient reads the email, the image or code is loaded, and the receipt is triggered. This sends a notification to the sender confirming that the email has been read.

The process of sending a read receipt begins when the recipient reads the email. The recipient’s email client automatically sends a notification back to the sender, indicating that the email has been read.

Why Use Email Read Receipts?

When you send an important email, such as a job application or a time-sensitive project update, you may feel anxious to know whether it has been read. In these situations, email read receipts can bring you peace of mind. 

Whether for professional matters requiring timely responses or personal communications where you just want to know if your recipient got the message, email read receipts can be really helpful. 

Here are some of the main benefits of using email read receipts:

  • Confirm that your email has been delivered: The goal of activating read receipts in your email client is to confirm that an email has been received and read by its recipient. This eliminates the uncertainty that often comes with sending an email.
  • Make communication faster: Enabling read receipts on emails can increase communication efficiency by verifying that an email has been read. This allows the sender to move forward with further steps, knowing that their message has been received and acknowledged.
  • Plan follow-ups: With read receipts, the sender is notified when an email has been read. This information can be used to schedule follow-up emails and make communication smooth and efficient.
  • Collaborate more efficiently: Read receipts are especially useful for teams working on a project together. They can confirm that team members have received and reviewed important information, ensuring everyone is on the same track.

Challenges and Limitations of Email Receipts

Although knowing whether or not your email has been read can be helpful in many situations, read receipts aren’t always the best solution. Sometimes, you may need to refrain from using them due to privacy concerns or technical issues. 

Here are some of the concerns related to email read receipts.

  • They aren’t always reliable: Read receipts may not always be trustworthy. Some email clients and services may block the read receipt notification, making it difficult for the sender to confirm that their message has been read.
  • They aren’t always accurate: Even when read receipts are enabled, they may not accurately reflect whether the recipient has read and understood the message, as they could simply open the email without fully engaging with its content.
  • They may infringe on someone’s privacy: Read receipts can intrude on the recipient’s privacy by disclosing when they have opened an email. Plus, some recipients may not feel comfortable with email tracking. 
  • They can be misinterpreted: Misinterpretation of read receipts can occur, with senders assuming that the recipient’s lack of response indicates disregard or disinterest when, in reality, the recipient may simply be busy or have other priorities.

Do All Email Clients Have a Read Receipt Email Feature? 

You may be wondering whether you can enable read receipts on your email client. Maybe you can! But, you must keep in mind that some email clients, like Apple Mail and Gmail, don’t have a built-in read receipts feature. 

If your native email application doesn’t support read receipts, you might want to explore more advanced third-party options for email tracking that enable you to see if someone has read your email. 

Canary Mail – The Best Tool for Read Receipts ✅

read receipt email

Canary Mail is the most advanced email client on the market. It focuses on email productivity and management with modern features, such as an AI-powered email assistant that helps users write better emails in less time, a unified inbox for multiple email accounts, and read receipts. 

Canary Mail’s read receipt function is built into the platform, so there’s no need for additional plugins or software. When you send an email using Canary Mail, you’ll receive a notification as soon as the recipient opens it. 

The read receipt feature in Canary Mail is compatible with all email services, including Google Workspace, Gmail, Apple Mail, and Outlook.

The process of enabling read receipts on Canary Mail is super simple. Just navigate to Preferences > General > Read Receipts. From there, you can turn the feature on and off at your convenience.

Besides enabling users to track whether someone has opened their email, Canary Mail has strong email privacy and security features, like PGP and end-to-end encryption, to keep your email communication safe.

💰 Pricing: Canary Mail offers a free forever plan for personal use. Our paid plans start at $49 per year. 

Read Receipts Email Tracking, the Bottom Line

Whether you’re a seasoned email marketer hoping to gauge client interest, a business owner looking to track their emails, or you simply want to make sure that your message has been received by your recipient, the read receipt feature can be extremely helpful. 

Although getting a confirmation that your email has been received and read by the recipient can be useful for many reasons, it’s crucial to understand the limitations and potential drawbacks of read receipts. 

When used appropriately, read receipts can enhance email communication and ease anxiety and frustration related to waiting for a reply. However, read receipts can sometimes be seen as intrusive by the recipient. Therefore, you must use them ethically. 

Email Read Receipts, the FAQs

❓What is an email read receipt?

A read receipt is a notification sent to the sender of an email when the recipient opens and reads the message. It serves as a confirmation that the email has been received and viewed.

❓How do read receipt work?

When you enable the read receipt feature in your email client or software, a small tracking image or code is embedded in the email. When the recipient opens the email, this code is triggered, and a notification is sent back to the sender.

❓Is the use of read receipts considered professional?

The use of read receipts can vary depending on the context and recipient. In some professional settings, such as formal business communications or time-sensitive matters, it can be appropriate to request a read receipt. However, it’s important to use read receipts judiciously and respect the recipient’s privacy.

❓Are read receipts available for all email clients and platforms?

Read receipt functionality is supported by various email clients and platforms, including Canary Mail. However, it’s important to note that not all email clients or recipients’ systems may support this feature, resulting in read receipts not being generated in such cases.

❓How can I enable or disable read receipt in my email client?

Turning read receipts on or off varies depending on your email client or software. Generally, you can find the read receipt settings within your email client’s preferences or options menu. Alternatively, you can consult the help documentation or support resources provided by your specific email service provider for detailed instructions.

❓Can I track read receipts for multiple recipients in a single email?

In most cases, read receipts are generated per recipient rather than per email. If you send an email to multiple recipients, you may receive separate read receipt notifications for each recipient who opens the email. In Canary Mail, you’ll receive individual read receipts for each email sent to multiple recipients, and you can track who has read your email.

❓Are read receipts legally binding?

No, read receipts do not hold any legal significance or serve as a legally binding document. They simply provide an acknowledgment that the email has been opened and read.


Phoebe Brown
Phoebe Brown

As a British writer and productivity coach, I’m passionate about unraveling the intricacies of email, SaaS, and artificial intelligence. With a knack for making the complex simple, my work empowers individuals and teams to harness these tools for maximum impact.

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