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How To Enable Gmail Read Receipts With Or Without A Subscription

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Unbeknownst to many Gmail users, Google’s email service actually comes packed with the ability to show read receipts. Namely, an indicator showing whether or not the recipient of an email has seen and read it. But, as we’ll see in a moment, that actually isn’t turned on by default. And some users can’t turn it on at all.

So this guide will walk through the process for not just enabling read receipts for those who do have access. But also some third-party solutions for adding the functionality to your Gmail.

The easiest, most reliable way to enable these is still with a subscription

Now, the primary method for enabling read receipts in Gmail involves a GoogleWorkspace subscription. And, in fact, that’s the only method to attain it officially. Moreover, users who receive emails from you will need to accept sending read receipts. They won’t show up if your recipients choose not to. So there’s still no guarantee they’ll work for every email.

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With that said, the subscription in question is also primarily intended for enterprise users. So, while steps for getting this enabled, if you do have a Google Workspace subscription are fairly straightforward, this option isn’t available to everybody.

  1. You’ll need to start by signing into the Google Workspace Admin Console — or by asking an IT Admin to complete these steps
  2. From there, you’ll need to navigate to the “Apps” in the left-hand sidebar
  3. Under the “Google Workspace” segment of “Apps” in the left-hand sidebar, select “Gmail”
  4. In the right-hand pane, look for the “User settings” and select it
  5. In the “Email read receipts” section of User settings, you’ll have several options. First, you can choose to restrict read receipts to email addresses on your domain. That will whitelist external addresses. Conversely, you can also enable read receipts for any email address. After choosing, be sure to click or tap the “Save” button
  6. It can take up to 24 hours before the feature is fully enabled. But, once enabled, create a new email and select the three-dot icon in the top right-hand corner of the Compose UI. Select “Request read receipt” from the resulting list. After sending the email, the recipient will be able to choose whether to send back read receipts. If they do accept sending read receipts, you’ll see a new message at the bottom of sent emails indicating that it’s been read, if it’s been read

Enable read receipts in Gmail with third-party extensions

Now, there are a number of ways to add read receipts in Gmail with third-party extensions, for those who don’t want to pay for a full Google Workspace subscription. At any rate, those subscriptions are intended for enterprise-level purposes, as noted earlier. So they aren’t really for everybody.

And, of course, there are risks involved. Google has had some serious extensions breaches in the past. And despite its best efforts, those are still possible. As often as not, those involve legitimate extensions. So, prior to using these methods to gain read receipts in Gmail, it’s always a good idea to double-check that there haven’t been any recent breaches of them. Of equal importance, not every extension that ultimately has issues is for Chrome or Chrome exclusive.

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Setting that aside, in terms of what is available, there are plenty of options out there for adding this feature. For example, some top solutions include MailTag, Free Email Tracker, BananaTag, and Gmelius. Our guide will cover two of the most popular third-party solutions.

Read receipts with Boomerang

Boomerang is one of the free — with paid features — options that’s incredibly popular for this particular task.

  1. Open your favorite browser and, in the URL address bar — or Omnibox, for Chrome users — navigate to “https://www.boomeranggmail.com”
  2. Near the top of the page, locate the “Add  this to your Gmail button” and select the button
  3. You’ll be redirected to the appropriate web extensions storefront, based on your browser choice. Our sample images show the Chrome Web Store because we’re using Google Chrome
  4. Select the button or UI to install or add the extension to your browser. Follow the installation UI
  5. Now, navigate to Gmail and click or tap to select the “Compose” button
  6. Boomerang adds a lot of features to your email, which you can explore in your own time. Including features such as scheduling, snoozing, meeting setups, and more. What we’re looking for, specifically, though is read receipts. To request a read receipt, which works similarly to the official Workspace, as discussed in the steps above, locate the blue-colored “Track” button near the bottom of your email. Select the button and send your email as usual
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…or with Mailtrack

Another option is Mailtrack. And, like Boomerang, it’s easy enough to get started with, albeit, only with Google Chrome.

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  1. Open up Google Chrome and navigate to the URL “https://mailtrack.io/en/”
  2. Near the top of the page, select the “Install for free” button. Like Boomerang, this is a paid app, albeit at a lower price. But it does come with a free version to start
  3. You’ll be redirected to the Chrome Web Store to install the extension, then through a series of pages — again, just as with Boomerang — to set up the app. This installation will, however, also include a page showing how much pricing is for the various versions. So you’ll need to select free to start with unless you’d like to pay for a different version from the start. Mail tracking works in the free version
  4. Open Gmail and tap or otherwise select the “Compose” button. Mailtrack automatically sends the email with a tracking request in Gmail for the read receipts. With an options panel located at the bottom of the Compose UI for making adjustments to that
  5. Once sent, emails with the read receipts accepted will show a green circle or checkmark UI in the overview screen of Gmail. Selecting that UI shows if and when and by whom the email was viewed
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