Snapchat, like most messaging apps, will instantly let you know when someone opens one of your snaps, and vice versa. This means the second you open a snap, you might feel the pressure to respond, even if you don’t know what to say. If you’re in a heated conversation or you’re sent a particularly spicy snap, it’d be nice to have some extra time to figure out your best response. That’s when this trick comes in handy.
I’m not sure when “read receipts” became the default for nearly every messaging service, but I don’t like it: Imagine if your mail carrier hung around to see when you opened your letters, then gave each sender a call to let them know. That’d be rude, so why is it okay when Snapchat does it? It’s fine if it’s an option you can control, like with iMessage, but that’s a rare exception: In most cases, there is no setting to allow you to open a message without the app spilling the beans.
So instead, don’t comply. Sneak your snaps instead.
The best way to read Snapchats without sending a read receipt
The best method for sneaking a peek at your unopened snaps sadly only works for text-based chats, and isn’t compatible with picture or video messages—though there is still a way to check out snaps of all kinds without alerting anyone immediately. However, this method is simply superior, because it allows you to peep messages from friends without them ever knowing; the second method I’ll discuss only grants you temporary reprieve from read receipts, while this one allows you to sneak a glance as many times as you like.
To start, open Snapchat, then swipe over to your chats (or tap the chat icon at the bottom of the screen). Don’t tap on the chat you’d like to open. Instead, slowly swipe right on the chat starting from the sender’s avatar. If you swipe anywhere else on the chat, you’ll only move towards the map. Swiping from their avatar, however, starts to open the chat. Slide just enough to read the message, but not all the way. As long as you don’t completely swipe right, Snapchat doesn’t record the message as opened, giving you as much time as you’d like to sit with the chat.
I can confirm this method works on the latest version of Snapchat on iPhone, while Digital Trends reports it works on Android as well.
How to delay read receipts on all Snapchat snaps
There is a workaround for viewing all kinds of snaps without anyone knowing, but it’s a temporary solution: When you receive a new snap, switch into Airplane mode on your phone, making sure both wifi and cellular data are disabled. Even though you aren’t connected to the internet, you’re still be able to open the snap, because it’s saved to your app.
Because you aren’t connected to the internet, Snapchat has no way to alert the sender that you opened their message. Of course, it will tell on you the next opportunity it gets, so if you want to delay things as long as possible, force quit Snapchat from your phone’s app switcher before turning Airplane mode off. Your phone will reconnect to the internet, but since Snapchat is completely off, it won’t report your read receipt.
Take as much time as you need to respond, but be wary of opening any new messages from Snapchat: The next time you open the app, it will report that you opened the message.