Can Someone See When You Listen To An Audio Message?

Whether you’re using WhatsApp, iPhone Messages, DMs on a social media app or Android Messaging, it can be really annoying to discover that every time you read a message sent to you, the sender is notified.

Usually, the sender is notified by a little ‘Read’ icon attached to the message, or the dreaded blue ticks on WhatsApp. However, the question remains: 

Can someone see when you listen to an audio message?

The answer is: Yes. When you listen to an audio message someone sends you, they will be able to see you’ve listened to it. On WhatsApp, the person will see the audio message’s two gray ticks turn blue. On iPhone Messages, the audio message will disappear from the chat two minutes after you listen to it, alerting the sender. 

On most other social media/communication apps, the message will have ‘Read’ or ‘Seen’ attached to it once you’ve listened. The only messaging platform where the sender may not be able to know if you’ve listened to their audio message is on Android Messages.

How to stop someone knowing when you’ve listened to their audio message (WhatsApp Method #1)

  1. Once you’ve received an audio message on WhatsApp, turn your phone onto Airplane Mode by sliding up from the bottom (iOS), or down from the top (Android), and tapping the airplane icon.

  2. Now, navigate onto the Whatsapp app, and open the chat with the voice message in it
  3. Play the voice message as you normally would by tapping the ‘Play’ icon
  4. Because your phone is disconnected from the internet and your cell service, WhatsApp will be unable to change the two ticks next to the voice note from gray to blue, and so the sender will not know you’ve listened.
  5. As soon as you take your phone out of Airplane Mode/reconnect to the internet, the sender will know you’ve listened, so make sure you only do so once you’re ready for them to know.

That’s the answer to the question: “Can someone see when you listen to an audio message”, as well as a short five-step guide on how to stop someone from seeing when you listen to an audio message specifically on WhatsApp.

If you have any further questions, or would like more information, please see our FAQs below.


What is considered an ‘audio message’?

Today, you can send just about any type of message you like, from text to GIF to image, video, and voice. However, when we talk about ‘audio messages’ or voice messages, we don’t mean phone calls. Instead, we mean (usually) short recordings of speech sent by one person to another. 

Certain cultures, as well as certain app users, tend to prefer to send their messages as audio files rather than as text messages, and rather than calling. Audio messages can be recorded quicker than it takes to type out a full text message, and have the added benefit of conveying emotion and meaning more efficiently and accurately than tends to be possible with text messages.

Audio messages can nowadays be sent via almost any communication app, including the Text Messaging app built into most modern smartphones. WhatsApp, iPhone Messages, Android Messages, Instagram Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, you name it, you can probably send a voice note through it!

Why can people see if you’ve listened to their audio messages?

As we’ve explained above, just as people can typically tell when you’ve read their text messages, or seen a picture or GIF or video you’ve sent them, so too can they see when and if you’ve listened to their audio message.

The reason behind this is not clear. In earlier iterations of social media apps and messaging systems, it was not possible to tell when someone had seen your message. However, as long ago as the days of MSN messenger, you could often tell the last time someone was ‘online’ and thus technically able to see your message. If they’d been online, but not replied to you, then you assumed they were ignoring you.

It is purely speculation, but our best guess as to why people can see if you’ve listened to their audio messages is simply to keep you glued to your phone as much as possible. If you can check when someone’s reading your messages, you’re more likely to spend more time on your phone, which ultimately benefits the many thousands of corporations, apps, and marketing companies which make money through your interaction with digital media.

How can you send an audio message reply?

If you’ve received an audio message and would like to reply in kind, you can do so! Look for a microphone icon, or an icon which looks like soundwaves. This icon is the button you need to press to begin recording a voice message reply.

Usually, you have to hold the button down for the duration of your recording. On some apps, such as WhatsApp, however, you can tap, hold, and slide the button to the side to ‘lock’ recording. Once you’ve finished recording your audio message, release the microphone button and tap ‘send’.

Can you stop people knowing when you’ve listened to their audio message?

So long as you’re connected to the internet, it’s probably impossible to stop someone from knowing when and if you’ve listened to their audio message. Even if you’ve turned off Read Receipts on WhatsApp (which stop someone knowing when you’ve read their text messages) they will still be able to know if you’ve listened to their audio message.

However, you may be pleased to know that there are still ways you can listen to an audio message without the sender knowing. To learn how to do so, follow our step-by-step tutorials above.