Gmail read receipt 2021: How to see if someone read your email

Depending on the situation, it can be super helpful to see when important emails are read. Using an email tracking system or a return receipt in Gmail can let you know whether or not your message has been opened. When you get notifications in real-time, you can respond appropriately with the next step and at the right moment.

Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) offers an outdated read receipt in Gmail format for its customers that is very similar to Outlook’s one back in the 1990s, with a concept and technology that is difficult to work with, and not reliable. Besides, it is not available to Gmail users. The best option, which we will show you afterwards, is to use an extension like Mailtrack for Gmail to see if someone has read your email.

Sending a Gmail read receipt

If you want to know when someone reads your email in Gmail, Mailtrack is the only reliable way to do that. With a simple extension, you can see who opened your email and when. It works with both free and Google Workspace Gmail accounts.

The free version of Gmail doesn’t allow you to request a read receipt. The outdated read receipt in Gmail setting is only available in accounts under a Google Workspace administrator, which are typically school or work accounts, which not everyone has. If you do have a Google Workspace Gmail account, there are two parts to requesting a Gmail read receipt.

The administrator, which could be you, first needs to turn on the setting for read receipts in Gmail for accounts in the organization. Here are the steps:

  • 1. Log in to your Google Workspace admin account at admin.google.com
  • 2. Click on Apps
  • 3. Click on Google Workspace Core Services
  • 4. Select the Gmail icon (not the checkbox next to it)
  • 5. Click User Settings
  • 6. Edit the Email read receipts option. The options are to disallow all, only allow between addresses at the organization and whitelisted addresses, or to allow them to be sent to any email address.

Once the Gmail read receipt option is turned on, you can go into your email account and request a read receipt when you compose an email. Here’s how:

  • 1. In Gmail, click Compose
  • 2. Write your email
  • 3. Click More options in the compose window which may appear as three dots or an arrow
  • 4. Select Request read receipt
  • 5. Hit send
How to activate Gmail’s read receipts.

You’ll get an email notification when the recipient opens your email. But as we explain here, this type of read receipt is unnatural and not reliable. It does not offer the natural and fluid approach we’re all used to in messaging apps on our smartphones.

Why using Gmail’s outdated read receipt is not appropriate

The fact that Gmail’s read receipts are outdated and little reliable is enough to argue that it’s not a good option for knowing if your messages have been read or not.

The issue, though, doesn’t stop here. The way the Gmail read receipt technology is implemented resembles Outlook’s old-fashioned confirmations from back in the 1990s. It adds awkwardness to information that we naturally exchange when talking to people face to face, or when we use messaging apps on our smartphones.

We all just take for granted that it is desirable for the person we’re communicating with to know we’re listening to them. Otherwise, no communication would be desirable. Or possible.

That’s where Mailtrack comes in. Mailtrack makes email conversations as natural as face-to-face ones because we use the same premises we take for granted when simply talking to other people.

Using Mailtrack to see if your email has been read

Mailtrack takes the awkwardness out of knowing if your email has been opened or not.

  1. It tells you if your emails have been opened or not, and how many times, through its pixel-based tracking system.
  1. It allows you to know anytime you receive a tracked email from someone else with Mailtrack’s Incoming tracked email indicator.

Mailtrack’s email tracker, together with its incoming tracked indicator, makes email tracking information available to everyone. It normalizes the use of open tracking systems, which leverages email communication to the level of other channels used by all of us on a daily basis, such as mobile messaging apps.

With Mailtrack, you get more intel than just a simple open notification. For example, you can see when and how many times the recipient opened your message. Using the Monitor Reply feature will notify you if your message hasn’t been opened for over 24 hours. And you can track email links inside a message to see when and how often they are visited. 

Mailtrack is specifically designed for Gmail and works by downloading a simple browser extension. The next time you have an important message to follow up on, get valuable insight after you hit send with Mailtrack.

See if your message was opened with a free Mailtrack account