Have you ever been in a situation where you accidentally send a message to the wrong person? Or maybe you sent a message, but instantly regret doing so? We’ve likely all been there at some point, and have to follow it up with the awkward “sorry about that” message. With the iOS 16 unsend messages ability, you’ll no longer have to worry about those awkward situations.
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iOS 16 Unsend Messages on Your iPhone
Compared to the other features coming to iOS 16 later this year, it may not really seem like Messages and iMessage got much attention. But that couldn’t be further from the truth as you can unsend messages. This has been a long-requested feature for Apple’s Messages app, and it’s actually surprising to see it arrive.
- Open the Messages app on your iPhone.
- Select the conversation from the list on the main screen.
- Locate the message that you want to unsend.
- Long-press on the message.
- When the drop-down menu appears, tap the Undo Send button.
Apple has added a fun little animation that appears when you unsend messages on your iPhone with iOS 16. But there’s also a message that appears after the message has been removed and unsent.
“You unsent a message. [Contact name] may still be able to see your message on devices running older versions of iOS.”
The message above only appears when messaging contacts on older versions of iOS. Chances are, this likely applies to many of your contacts, as iOS 16 is not yet available for everyone to download. But if you are on iOS 16 and unsend messages to another user who is running iOS 16, then a “[Contact name] unsent a message” prompt appears. This just lets the other user know that a message was unsent, and is the same thing that we see if you unsend messages through Facebook Messenger or other chat clients.
iOS 16 Unsend Messages: Things You Should Know
The biggest question you might have in regards to the ability in iOS 16 to unsend messages is how long of a window has Apple implemented? According to Apple following the WWDC ’22 Keynote, iOS 16 users will have a 15-minute window to unsend messages. There has been some debate about whether this is too long or too short, but it definitely puts Apple in an interesting place.
In the event that you are running iOS 16, you also might be wondering about what happens when you want to unsend messages sent to an Android user. For the time being at least, if you send a message to an Android user, you will not be able to unsend messages. We tried this with an iPhone 13 Pro Max running the first iOS 16 Developer Beta and a Pixel 6 Pro running Android 13 Beta 3.
Perhaps both of those scenarios will change in the future, but there are definitely going to be some limitations when messaging non-iMessage users. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed that those limitations will become a thing of the past, but for now, it’s not looking great.
Other iOS 16 Messages Features
Another big feature coming to iOS 16 in addition to being able to unsend messages, is the ability to edit messages. All you need to do is follow the same steps as listed above, but tap Edit from the drop-down menu as opposed to Unsend. You have 15-minutes to edit messages, and the contact you’re messaging will see that the message was edited.
Have you ever opened a message, but then decided that you didn’t have time at the moment to respond? Then you end up leaving the Messages app and completely forget about going back and responding. With iOS 16, you can finally mark messages as unread, something that we’ve had on other messaging platforms for years. It may not seem like that useful of a feature, but it can really come in handy if you ever find yourself in that situation.
What Do You Think?
It may not be garnering as much attention when compared to the whole Stage Manager saga, but there’s definitely a divide. When it comes to being able to use the iOS 16 unsend messages functionality, what do you think about Apple’s decision for the 15-minute limit? Should the limit be changed to something longer? Or do you think Apple should just remove it altogether? Let us know in the comments!
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.