How to edit or unsend an iMessage in iOS 16

We’ve all done it: sent a text message and then instantly regretted it. Whether it was a text to your parent with a spelling error that they’d never let you live down, a message with a 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 just sent your message to the wrong person — it can be at the least embarrassing and at the worst disastrous.

While messaging apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Viber all have some version of “delete for everyone,” until now, there was nothing you could do about it on iMessage except to follow it up with an “I didn’t mean that!” message.

In iOS 16, Apple introduces a feature to its iMessage chat app that allows you to edit or unsend a message — as long as you do it within 15 minutes of when you sent it and the recipient is also on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS Ventura.

In addition, it fails inelegantly if the other person is on an earlier version (so don’t rely on this feature during the public beta). And there may be some other issues that you want to be aware of when using this feature.

Still, it can be very handy. Here’s how to use it in iOS 16 beta:

To change the message

  • Long-press on the message.
  • On the drop-down menu, tap Edit.
  • Edit your message and tap the checkmark to the right of the message to send the correction. (Or tap the “x” to the left of the message if you’ve changed your mind about changing the text).

To delete the message

  • Long-press on the message.
  • On the drop-down menu, tap Undo Send.
  • The message will immediately disappear (in a rather pretty “poof!”).

To edit or delete a sent message, long-press on the message within 15 minutes of sending.

If you long-press on your message after 15 minutes have passed, then the Undo Send and Edit options will no longer be on the menu.

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