Wondering why WhatsApp has changed? This is what your read receipts REALLY mean

Callum Tennent
November 7, 2014

WhatsApp, the most popular mobile instant messaging service in the world, has recently changed. It’s nothing to do with the introduction of iOS 8 or even Android L. In fact, it’s not really to do with any external factor – the change is actually rather minor.

You may (or more likely may not) have recently noticed that your read receipts have changed. If you’re unsure, read receipts are those little tick marks you get at the bottom right-hand corner of each message you send. They indicate what status your message is in: unsent, sent, delivered to the recipient and read by the recipient.

Previously you would either see the big red exclamation mark (which was how you knew that delivery had failed), a small green tick or two small green ticks. Presumably the one tick meant the message had been sent and the double tick meant that it had been read, right?

WhatsApp screenshot

…Wrong. The double tick previously only meant that the message had been delivered, because apparently it’s possible to successfully send a message but not have it successfully received (we’ll take the WhatsApp guys’ word for it). To alleviate any confusion the fourth possible status, read by recipient, is now in effect. The colours have shifted to grey and blue – a single grey tick meaning the message has been sent, double grey ticks meaning it has been received, and double blue ticks meaning it has been read.

Glad we’ve got that all cleared up.


About the Author

Callum Tennent

International playboy/tech journalist.

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