iOS 16 Will Let You Unsend, Edit Texts on Your iPhone. Here’s How It Works

Sending hundreds of text messages in a day isn’t completely out of the question, especially if you’re part of a large group chat. And with so many messages going back and forth, you’re pretty much expected to make a few mistakes.

Usually, however, that is not a problem. A recipient can make simple grammatical mistakes, and if you send a message to the wrong person, you can usually follow it up with a simple “sorry” and all is well. Until it is no more.

Sometimes a texting error can get you in trouble or embarrass you, that’s why you should have the opportunity to retrieve and edit any message you sent — what you can finally do with iOS 16.

Do not miss it: 5 Hidden iOS 16 Features and Settings You’ll Want to Know About

Apple has announced these new texting features for the iPhone on its WWDC event in June. Other new features coming to iPhone include: new lock screen customization options and Apple Pay Later. And SharePlay is added to Messages.

We explain how these two new SMS features work. And if you want to explore iOS 16 now, before the general public release, here it is: how to download and install the second iOS 16 beta on your iPhone and iPad.

Edit messages you’ve already sent

If you use messaging tools like Slack, you’ve probably edited at least one — or 100 — of the messages you’ve sent. Whether you made a typo or your post contains incorrect information, the edit feature is a nice way to make your corrections quickly. iOS 16 also lets you edit your messages sent from your iPhone within 15 minutes of sending.

Edit a text message, you need to launch Messages and go to a thread that uses iMessage, which you probably know as blue text. This feature does not work with text messages (green texts). Now hold your finger on the message you want to edit. This will display the Tapback responses and quick action menu. Finally tap edit.

Even if you edit a text message, the recipient can still see old messages.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

The text message will then become editable. You can delete the entire message, fix any errors, or add more text to it. When you’re done, press the blue checkmark on the right to save your edits. You can edit a single message up to 5 times.

A useful Edit button will appear below your edited text message. The person on the other end also knows that the message has been edited and if they click . to tap Editedall previous versions of your text message will appear above the edited text message, in light gray chat bubbles.

Instantly remember all messages you accidentally sent

Accidental messages are far too common. You may have tapped the send button when you wanted to select an emoji. Or maybe you messaged the wrong person altogether. Either way, you can get those messages back with iOS 16. Unlike the message editing feature, you only have 2 minutes to unsend a text message.

Undo a text messagelaunch the Messages app, press and hold the message (blue text only) you want to delete and tap Undo Send.

The text message disappears from your conversation, both on your end and that of the recipient. A message will appear in your conversation stating that your message was not sent, but the recipient may have already seen it.

How to undo a text message on iOS 16

You only have 2 minutes to cancel a text message.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Unfortunately, if the other person is using anything older than iOS 16, the message won’t actually be sent even though your phone says it will.

The recipient will see a gray status message that reads: “[Name] Didn’t send a message” if they’ve already viewed the text. This is similar to the Delete Message feature that apps like WhatsApp and Signal already have, which also show a similar message after a text is recalled.

While you wait for these new features to be available, check out the new makeover is coming to Apple Maps. Also here is Apple’s New MacBook Air.

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