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Edit or undo an iMessage in iOS 16

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Samar Haddad / The Verge

We’ve all done it: sent a text and immediately regretted it. Whether it was a text to your parents with a spelling mistake they would never let you spoil, a message with the wrong word in it (“I don’t want to come to the party!” instead of “I want to come to the party!” ), or a sudden realization that you’ve just sent your message to the wrong person – it can be embarrassing to say the least, and catastrophic at worst.

While messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Viber all have some “delete for everyone” version, until now you couldn’t do anything about it on iMessage, except to follow it up with a “I didn’t mean that!” message.

In iOS 16, Apple introduced a feature in its iMessage chat app that allows you to unsend and edit a sent message — with some rules I’ll explain below.

First, you should be aware that the process has not been made secret. If you undo or edit a message, your recipient will be notified of the change — if they also have iOS 16. If they’re on an earlier version of iOS and you edit a post, they’ll just get a different version of the post — and unsubscribing won’t delete the post from their device.

With that in mind….

Delete the message

3 iOS screens with a message being edited
To delete a sent message, long press the message within two minutes of sending it.
  • Long press the message.
  • From the drop-down menu, tap Undo Send.
  • The message immediately disappears (in a rather nice “poof”) and grays out on your iMessage screen, with “You didn’t send a message” below it.

In the first public beta of this feature, you were given 15 minutes to unsend your message. However, that changed to two minutes, after which the option disappears from the drop-down menu.

To change the message:

iMessage with edits displayed
You can see all your previous edits.
  • Long press the message.
  • From the drop-down menu, tap edit.
  • Edit your message and tap the check mark to the right of the message to send the correction. (Or tap the “x” to the left of the message if you changed your mind about changing the text.)
  • To see all your edits, tap the little Edited link below the message. You can then tap Hide edits to see only the latest message.

You have a little more time to edit a post – a full 15 minutes. If you long press your message after 15 minutes have passed, the edit option is no longer in the menu. But there’s another limitation: you can edit it up to five times; afterwards, the edit option in the drop-down menu disappears.

Update September 16, 2022, 4:10 PM ET: This article was originally published on July 15, 2022 and has been updated to reflect changes from the beta version to the final version of iOS 16.

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