July 22, 2024

What Do the Little Checkmarks in WhatsApp Mean?

The little checkmarks in WhatsApp weren’t originally part of the popular instant messaging platform. However, their introduction was very well received by the users, so they remained. In this article, we will explain what these little checkmarks mean and what you can use them for.

WhatsApp in General

In order to understand what the little checkmarks in WhatsApp actually mean, you need to get better acquainted with the way WhatsApp works and the principles upon which it is based.

All the messages exchanged between two WhatsApp users are based on a “store and forward†type of system. This means that when you send a message, it first needs to get to a WhatsApp server, where it is stored. Once it’s there, the server continuously sends requests to the recipient to confirm that the message has reached its destination successfully.

When the recipient confirms that they have received the message, that message gets wiped out from the server database anymore. In case the server fails to receive the message acknowledgment from the recipient, that message will be stored in the WhatsApp server database for 30 days. After that, the message gets deleted automatically and will never be delivered to the recipient.

The Clock

Before we get to the checkmarks, there is another important thing you need to understand. After you’ve finished typing your message and clicked for it to be send, you might see the little grey clock icon right next to your message. This may occur when the message doesn’t even leave your mobile device. Usually, this happens when you have a slow internet connection or no connection at all. The clock will be present for as long as the app is trying to send your message from your mobile device to the WhatsApp server. If this icon refuses to go away, there is something wrong with your internet connection, so you better check that first.

One Grey Checkmark

Once the little grey clock disappears, it will be replaced by a little grey checkmark. This means that your message was finally sent from your mobile device and that it has reached the WhatsApp server. Still, this doesn’t mean that the message has reached the person you’ve sent it to. There are a few reasons why the message may be accompanied by just one grey tick.

Perhaps the recipient has switched its device off, so the server can’t deliver the message to their device. Also, one grey tick may mean that the recipient has no internet connection and thus can’t receive your message. Last but not least, she or he might have blocked you, so the message cannot and will not be delivered. In this case, it will be stored on the WhatsApp server for a month before it gets deleted permanently.

Two Grey Checkmarks

If you see two grey checkmarks, it means that your message has reached your recipient and has been transferred from the WhatsApp server to his or her mobile device. It is as if you’ve sent a letter, which has since reached the right mailbox, but hasn’t been picked up from there yet. If your message is stuck with two grey checkmarks, there are several possible explanations. First of all, your recipient simply may not have opened the message yet. He or she might have seen the notification, but has yet to open the app to check the message. They may also be experiencing connectivity issues, which would prevent them from opening the message to read it. Double grey checkmarks may also indicate that the recipient has changed the privacy settings in WhatsApp so that the server doesn’t receive Read Receipts from their device (more on this later on). If the recipient has an older WhatsApp version that doesn’t support Read Receipts, he or she simply can’t send back any info on the message status.

Two Blue Checkmarks

Finally, if you see two blue checkmarks right next to your message, it means that the recipient has seen and possibly read it.

Tips and Tricks

Now that you know what the little checkmarks in WhatsApp mean, here are a few more things you may find useful.

First of all, you can check the exact time the recipient has received or seen your message. You can do so by simply long-pressing the message. You will then be greeted by a bar with several different options. If you tap the “Info†button, you will see the exact times when the message was delivered and seen.

If you don’t want others to know if you’ve received or read their WhatsApp messages, you can easily disable this feature.

1. Open your account options in the app and head to “Privacyâ€.

2. Once you get there, scroll down to the “Read receipts†checkbox and uncheck it.

Your device will no longer send Read Receipts to the WhatsApp server, which means that others will have no way of knowing if you’ve read or received their message. However, keep in mind that this turns off Read Receipts on both sides. As such, you will not be informed when others receive and read the messages you send them.


We hope that this article has helped you understand what each of the three checkmark symbols in WhatsApp means. If you don’t want these checkmarks to appear next to the messages others send to your phone, just follow our easy tips to turn the Read Receipts feature off.

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