What Do Small Checkmarks in WhatsApp Mean?

Small ticks on WhatsApp were not originally part of the popular instant messaging platform. However, their introduction was very well received by users, so they stayed.

In this article, we’ll explain what these little checkmarks mean and what you can use them for.

WhatsApp in General

To understand what the little checkmarks in WhatsApp really mean, you need to get to know better how WhatsApp works and the principles on which it is based.

All messages exchanged between two WhatsApp users rely on a “store and forward” type of system. This means that when you send a message, it must first go to the WhatsApp server where it is stored.

Once there, the server continually sends requests to the receiver to verify that the message has successfully reached its destination. Once the recipient confirms receiving the message, this message is now deleted from the server database.

In case the server does not receive the message confirmation from the receiver, this message will be stored in the WhatsApp server database for 30 days. After that, the message is automatically deleted and never delivered to the recipient.


Before we get to the checkmarks, there is one more important thing you need to understand.

After you finish typing your message and click to send it, you can see the little gray clock icon right next to your message.

This can happen even when the message doesn’t leave your mobile device. Usually this happens when you have a slow internet connection or no connection at all. The clock will be available as long as the app tries to send your message from your mobile device to the WhatsApp server.

If this icon refuses to disappear then there is something wrong with your internet connection so you better check that first.

A Gray Checkmark

When the little gray clock disappears, it will be replaced by a small gray tick. This means that your message was finally sent from your mobile device and reached the WhatsApp server.

However, this does not mean that the message reached the person you sent it to. There are several reasons why a message might be accompanied by only one gray checkmark.

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Maybe the receiver has turned off his device, so the server cannot forward the message to his device. Also, a gray check mark may mean that the recipient does not have an internet connection and thus cannot receive your message.

Finally, he may have blocked you, so the message cannot and will not be forwarded. In this case, it is stored on the WhatsApp server for a month before being permanently deleted.

Two Gray Checkmarks

If you see two gray checkmarks, it means that your message has reached your recipient and has been transferred from the WhatsApp server to their mobile device.

It’s as if you’ve since sent a letter that has arrived in the correct mailbox but hasn’t been picked up yet.

If your message has two gray checkmarks, there are several possible explanations.

First of all, your recipient may not have opened the message yet. He may have seen the notification, but has yet to open the app to check the message.

They may also be experiencing connection issues that prevent them from opening the message to read it.

Double gray checkmarks may also indicate that the recipient has changed their privacy settings in WhatsApp so that the server does not receive Read Receipts from their device (more on this later).

If the recipient has an older version of WhatsApp that doesn’t support Read Receipts, they won’t be able to send back any message status information.

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 the message.

Tips and Tricks

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

First of all, you can control exactly when the recipient received or saw your message. You can do this by 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 the message was delivered and seen.

If you do not want others to know whether you have received or read WhatsApp messages, you can easily disable this feature.

1. Open your account options in the app and go to “Privacy”.

2. When you get there, go to the “Read receipts” checkbox and uncheck it.

Your device will no longer send Read Receipts to the WhatsApp server, which means there will be no way for others to know whether you have read their messages or not. However, note that this turns off Read Receipts on both sides. Therefore, you will not be notified when others receive and read the messages you sent.

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