If you’ve used an Instant messaging app you’ve probably noticed after you send a message typically in the bottom right of the screen you get either a tick icon or a bit of text saying “Sent” or maybe “Read.”

Sent, Delivered, and Read, or Sent, Delivered, and Seen are different indicators called read receipts, and there may be other variations of these indicators depending on the app you are using but they all mean the same thing.

What is a read receipt?

A read receipt is an indicator of where your message is currently at and whether or not it has been read by the recipient. If it’s taking a while to receive a reply this allows you to see if they have received the message or not. The following is a summary of all the indicators and what they mean.

Sent

A message with a read receipt of “Sent” indicates that your message has been sent to the chat providers servers and is awaiting connection with the recipient’s phone to deliver the message. If you message still says “Sent” after some time, it could indicate the recipient’s phone is not currently connected to the internet.

Delivered

A message with a read receipt of “Delivered” indicates that your message has been delivered to the recipient’s phone and the message is waiting to be read, just like mail sitting in the mailbox unopened.

Read

A read receipt of “Read” indicates that the chat app has been opened on the recipient’s phone and your message has been read.

To illustrate the following is a diagram of the entire process:

Read Receipts in emails

Thats the basics of what Sent, Delivered, and Read mean, but read receipts arent only used in instant messaging, they can also be used in emails.

A sender can request a read reciept for both “Read” and “Delivered” status. Depending how your email client is configured you may also be able to deny sending a read receipt, leaving the sender unaware of whether you have read the email.

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