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I have never seen the "read" tag before, however I have seen "delivered" and nothing. What does the "read" tag mean?

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Delivered means that it's gotten to its destination. Read means that the user has actually opened the text in the Messages app.

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I also believe that you can only get the read tag for iMessages. –  segiddins Oct 3 '12 at 14:07
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Also the receiver has to turn on the functionality for "read" status to be sent as a response. It's the "Send Read Receipts" toggle under messages. –  Stu Wilson Oct 3 '12 at 20:38
    
For Mac App Messages users on ML, the same configuration appears under Preferences -> Accounts -> (Select your iMessage acct) -> Send Read Receipts –  Stu Wilson Oct 10 '12 at 12:20
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