Almost every iPhone user will admit they have sent a text message they immediately regretted for whatever reason, either because it was risky for a relationship, went to the wrong number (like the boss: oops!), or it just had a simple or even embarassing typo. This has been happening since the beginning of text messaging and other digital communications. Historically, there has never been a way to edit or unsend a text message, and most of us have resorted to simply cringing until we received a response, sent an embarrassingly long explanation, or called the recipient to explain ourselves. However, Apple has some good news for us. Now, Apple is offering a way to edit and unsend iMessages. Note that this is specifically for iMessage and does NOT work for SMS messages, which cannot be unsent or edited (at this time). Here, we will discuss how to unsend a text message on iPhone.
How to Edit and Unsend Text Messages on an iPhone
Let’s take a look at how these functions work and what you’ll need to do to have access to these features.
First and foremost, you will not be able to unsend or edit text messages if you are not using a device running any older iPhone software. These features are available starting on iOS 16, iPad OS 16, and macOS Ventura. Therefore, the first step to editing and unsending messages on your iPhone is updating your software to the latest version. To check what iOS version your phone is running and update if needed, from your home screen tap Settings → General → Software Update.
How to unsend iMessage: be quick!
The most important thing to know about unsending a message is that you have to do it fast! You have two minutes to unsend a message if you need to. If you want to completely unsend a message, long press the relevant message bubble and tap “Undo Send.” Both you and the recipient will see that you have unsent a message, and you will receive a notice that the recipient may still be able to view your unsent message.
If the recipients’ devices are operating iOS 16 or above or macOS Ventura or above, the message you initially sent will disappear from your phone and theirs. If the recipients are using older software or SMS, your initial message will be removed from your phone but will remain on theirs.
How to edit a text message on iPhone
If you want to edit a text message, you have a little bit longer to decide, as Apple allows users to edit a message a maximum of five times over the span of fifteen minutes. If you want to edit a message, long press the relevant message bubble and tap “Edit.” You can make the desired changes, and then tap the blue bubble that has a white checkmark in it to save your edits. To cancel, press the gray ‘X’ to revert it back to the original message.
If your recipients’ devices are operating iOS 16 or above or macOS Ventura or above, the message will be updated in your conversation on all devices and you will all be able to tap “Edited” to see the edit history. If the recipients are using older software or SMS, they will receive an entirely new message with your new text. This new message will start with “Edited to” and then will have your updated text in quotation marks.
Now you know how to undo any embarrassing mistakes, or poorly thought out communications. Just keep in mind you only have a limited time to undo what you’ve done… So really that old advice holds true. Think twice before you hit send.