We’ve all had that feeling, remembering we forgot to include something in a text message we just sent (or wishing we didn’t include something). With iOS 16 on the iPhone, we now have the ability to unsend a sent message or edit it. While there are some limitations to this feature, it can still be very useful.
How to Unsend an iMessage
To unsend a message, both you and the recipient need to be using iOS 16. If you have iOS 16 and the recipient has an older iOS version, the message will be sent as it normally would, but it can’t be unsent. Additionally, you can only unsend an iMessage within two minutes of it being sent. After two minutes, the message can not be recalled.
- Open the Messages app and navigate to the conversation thread.
- Tap and hold the message you want to unsend. In the window that appears, tap Undo Send.
- A note confirming that you unsent the message appears in both your and the recipient’s conversation threads.
This only works if the recipient has an iPhone with iOS 16. It does not work on earlier iOS versions. If the recipient is using an older iOS version on their iPhone, the message will remain on the recipient’s phone. You are notified that the recipient may still see the original message. The option to unsend a message won’t even appear on an SMS message to an android phone. SMS/MMS messages go through your cellular provider’s network, so Apple cannot control what happens to these messages once they have been sent.
Keep in mind that even if you unsend a message, there is a chance that the recipient may have already read it. Even if it isn’t marked as “read” in the Messages app, there is a chance the recipient read it when they first received the notification.
Editing a Sent Message
Rather than unsending a message, it is possible to simply edit it. An iMessage can be edited up to five times within 15 minutes of sending it.
- In Messages app, navigate to the conversation thread.
- Tap and hold the message bubble you want to edit. In the window that appears, tap Edit.
- Make the changes to the message and tap the check mark to update the message.
- The message is marked as Edited in the conversation thread.
If the recipient has an iPhone with iOS 16, the message bubble is updated to reflect the edits on their device, and both of you can tap Edited to see previous versions of your message.
If the recipient has an iPhone with iOS 15.6 or earlier or is using an android device, they receive a new message with your updated text.