How to Request Read Receipts in Mac Mail

Have you ever wondered what happened to a message you sent? Has a spam filter’s ruthless rule befallen it, or did it never arrive? Was it read but forgotten?

To get some idea of your every email’s fate, you can request read receipts. Typically, the recipient will be asked to confirm the message has been opened. While this is no guarantee the content has been read or even understood, such read receipts can still be useful to rule out some possibilities of failure and maybe quiet a wandering mind.

Request Read Receipts in Mac OS X Mail

To make Mac OS X Mail request a read receipt for every message you send:

  • Open Terminal.
  • Type “defaults read com.apple.mail UserHeaders”.
  • Press Enter.
  • If that command returns “The domain/default pair of (com.apple.mail, UserHeaders) does not exist”:
    • Type
      • defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders ‘{“Disposition-Notification-To” = “Name <email@address>”; }’

      replacing Name with your name and email@address with your email address.

      • The complete line could read “defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders ‘{“Disposition-Notification-To” = “Heinz Tschabitscher <sender@example.com>”; }'”, for example.
  • If the “defaults read” command above returns a line of values that starts with “{” and ends in “}”:
    • Highlight the entire line. It might read something like {Bcc = “bcc@example.com”; }, for example.
    • Press Command-C.
    • Type “defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders ‘” (excluding the outer quotation marks).
    • Press Command-V.
    • Type “‘”.
    • Insert ‘”Disposition-Notification-To” = “Name <email@address>”; ‘ in front of the closing “}” character, replacing Name with your name and email@address with your email address.
      The line might now read

      • defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders ‘{Bcc = “bcc@example.com”; “Disposition-Notification-To” = “Heinz Tschabitscher <sender@example.com>”; }’

      , for example.

  • Press Enter.

Disable Automatic Read Receipt Requests Again in Mac OS X Mail

To turn requesting a read receipt for every message back off:

  • Execute “defaults delete com.apple.mail UserHeaders” at Terminal command prompt to delete all custom headers or set UserHeaders back to what it was before you added “Disposition-Notification-To”.
 

Josh

Josh is a multidsicplinary designer who has a love for creativity and design. He enjoys learning and experimenting in all areas of design. Please feel free to follow Josh on Twitter