Apple's iOS 10 update doesn't come out for another three months, but we've already started parsing the laundry list of new features the company is including its next big mobile refresh. One of the more useful ones that stands out is per-person read receipts for iMessage.
Up until now, read receipts for iMessage have been optional, but could only be activated for every conversation all of the time. So no matter who you were chatting with, the recipient would always see when you viewed a message. Now, with iOS 10, you'll be able to toggle the feature on and off by conversation, similar to how you can currently toggle "Do Not Disturb" on and off for certain threads by opening up the "Details" panel in the Messages app.
Read receipts are like a form of digital body language
Read receipts are a distinctly powerful unspoken exchange, letting both sides of the conversation transmit information like a form of digital body language. Sometimes, they can be nerve-racking, prompting you to wonder why the other person hasn't responded when they've clearly looked at the message. In other situations, it can be a relief because it gives the recipient the opportunity to control the flow of a conversation. If you're busy, you can simply not look at the message and know the sender won't be sitting idly by waiting for a response.
Some chat services have read receipts turned on permanently, like Facebook Messenger. That all-or-nothing approach doesn't always work for everyone, so it's refreshing to see Apple giving users more control over the feature with iOS 10. Apple's new mobile OS update is releasing this fall, alongside the presumed introduction of the iPhone 7.