With Gmail, is there some way to do that check?

  • For what it's worth, any solution you may find can be circumvented by some (usually simple) technological measure. Nothing to do with Gmail, it's because of the way email in general works.
    – David Z
    Jul 14, 2010 at 23:22

4 Answers 4


You can try a service as SpyPig to sent you a notification when your email has been read.

SpyPig is a simple email tracking system that sends you a notification email as soon as the recipient opens and reads your message.

It works with virtually all modern email programs: Outlook, Eudora, Yahoo Email, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL Email and many others.

Basic Requirement

Both you and the recipient must use an HTML email, not plain-text or rich-text email. Visit the Requirements & Limitations page to learn more about SpyPig.

Kudos to labnol.org for the suggestion!

  • 2
    presumably this is done with <img> tags? Ah yes.. "SpyPig relies on the image download as the tracking device." Jul 12, 2010 at 18:12
  • It's not perfect, but heck it does the job. Just not really useful in a professional email @Jeff
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 12, 2010 at 18:14
  • Thanks! btw, how does this <img> image download thing work?
    – Lazer
    Jul 12, 2010 at 18:17
  • 7
    at least i tell gmail to not render any images. i hate such sniffing around in general. it is almost as annoying as the "urgent" marker in mails.
    – akira
    Jul 12, 2010 at 18:27
  • 9
    Given it embeds an image, and all modern email clients do not display images by default, this isn't a reliable solution at all.
    – Ian
    Jul 12, 2010 at 19:08

As mentioned in rchern's link:

By far the easiest and most reliable way to know if your recipient has read a message is to ask them in the message to send you a brief reply.


Not if you use the web ui. I think (but am not certain) that it would work if you use a desktop client that supports it.

See here for details about why it doesn't work and is generally unreliable: http://knol.google.com/k/read-receipts-in-gmail#

  • As mentioned in the link, this method is not reliable either (just like the <img> tag tracker bug), it depends on the receiver to play along.
    – davr
    Jul 12, 2010 at 21:56
  • True, but people are generally happy if their client supports it. A desktop client supporting read receipt (like Outlook) is what people think of at least. Jul 12, 2010 at 22:02

Similar to the suggestion by @Ivo, whoreadme is, you guessed it, a tool that can track who has read and forwarded your emails.

WhoReadMe is embedded a transparent tracking image into your HTML e-mail. The image is assigned with unique ID and stored in WhoReadMe server. Once your recipient opens your e-mail, tracking image will be loaded from WhoReadMe server. Therefore, WhoReadMe is alerted to send you notification.

However, it still has the problems associated with this method of tracking if an email has read in that generally, people will not have their email client set to download images by default.

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