How can I tell whether my text message has been received by the recipient?

Text messages are amazingly handy – they’re quick and easy to send and they do not demand instant attention: the recipient will still receive your message if they are too busy to pick up the phone or if their phone is off (when they next turn it on). The major caveat with text messages is that they’re not always instant and you have no idea whether they’re been received or read- sometimes they’re delivered in seconds and other times they take days. Occasionally, this leads to awkward situations where you’ve texted something important and they deny having received it!

The solution to this issue is to request a “SMS delivery report” for any time-critical or important text messages. You’ll receive a text notification when your text has been delivered to the recipient and usually it’s free.

How does it work?

You need to prefix your text message with a special code. This is an instruction to your mobile network to notify you by text once it has delivered the text. The special code is stripped from the message the recipient actually sees so they will never know that you have requested a delivery receipt.

Unfortunately, the delivery receipt will not tell you whether the recipient has actually read your message – only the fact that their phone has received the message. It’s analogous to registered/recorded mail: when the Royal Mail reports a package as delivered, it doesn’t say anything about whether the package has been opened or looked at. Even if you do receive a delivery receipt, the phone could be hiding at the bottom of somebody’s bag or the text could be deleted accidentally.

How can I request a delivery receipt?

For most mobile networks, prefix your SMS message with *0# (that’s a zero between the star and the hash).

We’ve confirmed that this code works on O2 and T-Mobile in the UK and that there is no charge for the delivery receipt. Do try it on your network and see whether it works. Some network may also charge you for this service so please do double-check before using it on a regular basis. Several people have reported that Orange uses the code “RCT ” (without the quotes) and charges 1p for a delivery receipt.

Let us know how you get on in the comments.

Can I request this for all of the texts I send?

Yes. If you find yourself using this feature regularly then check the menus of your phone – it may have an option to turn them on automatically. This will prevent you from having to prefix your messages each time. We don’t recommend using this feature though – it will mean you receive a large quantity of delivery receipts.

Does this tell me when my text is read?

No. As far as we are aware, read receipts are not supported by any phone or network especially given the recipient of the text would be charged to send such a notification.

Your Comments 3 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 3 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I always use *0# at the start of my txt and always receive a delivery report BUT my last 3 txts to one cell phone havnt received a delivery report yet their cell phone is on??

  • I accedentally deleted my number off of facebook mobile, and I tryed putting it back on. But it won’t send me a conformation code. I’ved tryed EVERYTHING please help me.

    • David Tobin replied:

      You can log into your Facebook account on a computer and then put the number back on or a new number. If you do it on your phone’s browser then if it asks for number for confirmation text select verify another way. Hope this helps

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