Since its launch in 2009, WhatsApp has grown to become one of the world's most popular smartphone apps and messaging services. The company was bought by Facebook (now Meta) in 2014 for $16 billion and has over 2 billion users worldwide.

Due to its end-to-end encryption of chats, WhatsApp is a highly secure messaging app that is both free to use and free from advertisements.

In 2014, the double blue tick system was introduced that informs the sender that the recipient has read their message. Many users find this feature useful, while others prefer to switch it off. As well as the double blue ticks, your message can also display a single grey tick or a double grey tick.

We are going to explore the details of the WhatsApp tick system and find out what each symbol means.

One grey tick on WhatsApp means your message has been successfully sent from your phone to the WhatsApp server, but it has not been delivered to the recipient yet. The message is delivered when it reaches the recipient's phone, which can only happen if it is on and connected to the internet.

When your message gets two ticks, it means it has been delivered, and when they are blue, it has been read.

So let's jump in and find out why your message may not have been delivered yet.

If your message still displays a grey tick, it has not been delivered yet. This might be because the other person has their phone turned off, or they are not connected to the internet.

Remember, for WhatsApp to work, you must be connected to the internet using your mobile data or a WiFi signal. WhatsApp doesn't work using a regular phone signal, which makes it a useful alternative if you are somewhere with an internet or data connection but a limited phone signal.

If your message displays two grey ticks, it means the message has been successfully delivered to the recipient's phone, but they haven't read it yet. They will have received a notification, such as a tone or a vibration, informing them of the message. However, they may not have their phone or have not opened the message yet, which is why the message is still unread.

If your WhatsApp message displays two blue ticks, it means it has been sent, delivered, and seen by the recipient. While you cannot guarantee that they have read it in full, two blue ticks tell you they have either clicked the 'mark as read' button or have opened up your chat window.

If you see a clock symbol beside your message, it has not yet been sent from your phone to the WhatsApp server. This usually happens if your device is not connected to an internet network via WiFi or mobile data or there is insufficient bandwidth for the message to send.

Once the phone connects to a network, your message should send. However, if you have tried to send a picture or video and it has not been sent, you may need to press the 'Resend' button to ensure it reaches the recipient.

If you don't want people to see the read receipts on the messages they have sent, you can turn them off. If you turn off read receipts, it also means that you will not be able to see them from other people when you send them messages.

If you turn off read receipts, when you read a message, the sender won't know the status of the message. They will still get the one and two grey ticks for the message delivery status, but they won't get the double blue ticks showing that you have read it. The same is also true for recorded voice messages.

This can be useful for both personal and professional reasons. For example, you may not want your boss to know that you have read a message they sent you asking you to work on the weekend. Or maybe you want a night in and a friend is trying to contact you and you want to ignore them so that you are not persuaded to go out, but, at the same time, you don't want them to know that you are ignoring their messages.

In both instances, turning WhatsApp ticks off is a great solution to an otherwise awkward social interaction.

To turn your WhatsApp read receipts off, follow these steps:

  • Open WhatsApp and tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner.
  • Select Settings and then select Privacy.
  • In the Privacy tab, go to Read receipts.
  • If the slider is green, it means Read receipts are on. Tap it to turn them off.
  • If the slider is dark, it means Read receipts are already off.

You cannot turn off read receipts for group chats. This means that if you deliver a message to a group with more than two members, you will be aware once everyone within the group has read your message.

A single grey tick on a WhatsApp message means you have sent a message and the WhatsApp server has received it, but it has not yet been delivered to the recipient's phone. If your message has two ticks that are grey, it means the message has been successfully delivered, but they haven't read it yet. And two blue ticks mean the message has been read.