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How to Request Read Receipts in Mac OS X Mail


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What Happened to the Mail I Sent?



Thanx to Philippe Mathot there is now a even easier solution - simply use the application below.


Head over to OSX Latitude to get it:





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?


When you send an email in Mac OS X Mail, the message will be delivered to its recipient promptly — usually, but not always.


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":


defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"Disposition-Notification-To" = "Name "; }'

replacing Name with your name and [email protected] with your email address.


The complete line could read "defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{"Disposition-Notification-To" = "Heinz Tschabitscher "; }'", 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 = "[email protected]"; }, 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 "; ' in front of the closing "}" character, replacing Name with your name and [email protected] with your email address.

The line might now read

defaults write com.apple.mail UserHeaders '{Bcc = "[email protected]"; "Disposition-Notification-To" = "Heinz Tschabitscher "; }'

, for example.


Press Enter.

Not Only Request but also Respect and Send Read Receipts


Unfortunately, Mac OS X Mail does not respect read receipts. If you get an email requesting a read receipt, nothing special happens.


Using some JavaScript and Mail rules, you can mimic some of the behavior and send simple receipts upon request. These do not fully conform to the standard and will not be interpreted as read receipts by the sender's email program. Of course, the plain language acknowledgment of receipt will still be useful.


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".

Full Email Accountability and Control


For full knowledge and control over the fate of the emails you send, you can employ a certified email service.

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