iOS 16: Unsending and editing text messages on iPhone

Mistakes happen to everyone, but they can live on forever, especially online. Any iPhone text message you send is subject to that same rule, which is not good when you make a silly grammatical error or send the right message to the wrong person. Unfortunately, iOS does not offer the ability to edit or unsend an incorrect text message.

As soon as iOS 16 is released this fall, users will be able to recall any message and edit what they’ve sent.  Announcing these new texting features in June at WWDC, Apple showed off the latest iPhone features. Apple Pay Later and the ability to customize the lock screen will also be available on the iPhone. Messages will also include SharePlay. 

Edit messages you’ve already sent

Slack users are likely to have edited at least one message – or 100 – of theirs. Editing your message is a nice way to fix any mistakes you made or incorrect data. Within 15 minutes of sending your message from your iPhone, you’ll also be able to edit it.

If you would like to edit a text message, you will need to launch Messages and select any thread that uses iMessage, which you have probably heard of as blue text. There is no way to use this feature with SMS text messages (green texts).

You can now edit your message by holding your finger down. In this way, you will be able to see the Tapback reactions and quick action menu. The final step is to tap Edit. After that, you will be able to edit the text message. A message can be deleted, edited, or added to. Save your changes by clicking the blue checkmark on the right side. The number of times you can edit a message is limited to five.

Your edited text message will be accompanied by an actionable Edited button. Additionally, if the person on the other end taps on Edited, all previous versions of your text message will appear above and slightly grayed out above the edited message. 

Immediately recall any messages you accidentally sent

It happens way too often that messages are sent by accident. Perhaps you accidentally sent an emoji instead of selecting one. The message may have been sent to the wrong person. Both cases will be able to be recalled with iOS 16. When you unsend a text, you have only two minutes to do so, unlike when you edit a message.

Messages can be unsent by opening the app, tapping the message (blue text only), and then tapping Undo Send.

Both you and your recipient will no longer see the text message in your thread. If the recipient has already seen your message, a message will appear stating that the message has been unsent.

Despite your phone saying that the message was unsent, if the other person is running anything older than iOS 16, the message won’t actually have been unsent.

If the recipient has already viewed the text, they will see a gray status message that says, “[Name] unsent a message.”. Similar to apps such as WhatsApp and Signal with Delete Messages, they also show this message when a text is recalled.

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