Apple’s popular Messages app has a new bug that will show read receipts even when users have them turned off.
Initially spotted by MacWorld (via 9to5Mac), several users have reported the issue with iOS 15. However, it’s been seen before on older versions of iOS. It’s not clear how widespread the issue is, but at the moment there doesn’t seem to be anything users can do to fully resolve the problem. Some impacted users were able to temporarily fix the problem by restarting their iPhones.
For those unfamiliar with read receipts, they’re a popular feature on many messaging and chat platforms. In short, if you send a message to someone, the app will show when it delivered the message and will show when the recipient has read the message. For some, it’s a helpful way to monitor the status of a message. For others, it’s an annoyance — some people might read a message and not be able to respond right away, which could cause offence if the sender sees the read receipt but doesn’t receive a response.
Because of that, some people like to turn off read receipts (you can do that with Messages by heading to the Settings app, then Messages and scrolling to ‘Send Read Receipts’ on your Apple device). Turning read receipts on or off only impacts iMessage chats (those with blue bubbles) since the SMS standard (green bubbles) doesn’t support read receipts.
Of course with the current bug, turning off rear receipts might not stop your phone from sending them. Hopefully, Apple fixes the problem soon — likely in a future iOS update. For the time being, you might want to not open any messages you receive unless you want the sender to see you’ve read them.