It’s not impossible to send hundreds of text messages in a single day, especially if you’re part of a large group chat. And with so many messages flying around, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make a mistake or two.
Normally, this isn’t an issue. The recipient can detect simple grammatical errors, and if you send a message to the wrong person, you can usually follow it up with a simple “sorry” and everything will be fine. Until it isn’t.
A text message error can get you into trouble or embarrass, which is why you should be able to recall any message and edit what you’ve sent – something you’ll finally be able to do with iOS 16.
Apple announced these new iPhone texting features at its WWDC event in June. Other new iPhone features include new lock screen customization options and Apple Pay Later. Messages will also include SharePlay.
We’ll walk you through how these two new texting features work. If you want to try out iOS 16 before it’s released to the general public, here’s 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 apps like Slack, you’ve probably edited one – or 100 – of the messages you’ve sent. Whether you made a mistake or your message contains incorrect information, the editing feature is a convenient way to make changes quickly. You’ll also be able to edit messages sent from your iPhone within 15 minutes of sending them with iOS 16.
To edit a text message, open Messages and navigate to any thread that is using iMessage, also known as blue text. This feature is not compatible with SMS text messages (green texts). Now, press and hold your finger on the message you want to change. This will activate the Tapback reactions and quick action.
After that, the text message will be editable. You can delete the entire message, correct any errors, or add new text to it. When you’re done, click the blue checkmark button on the right side to save your changes. A single message can only be edited 5 times.
Under your edited text message, an Edited button will appear. The recipient will also be aware that the message has been edited, and if they tap Edited, all previous versions of your text message will appear above the edited text message, in slightly grayed-out chat bubbles.
Immediately recall any messages you accidentally sent
Accidental messages occur far too frequently. Perhaps you accidentally pressed the send button when you meant to select an emoji. Perhaps you messaged the incorrect person entirely. In either case, iOS 16 will allow you to retrieve those messages. Unlike the edit message feature, you only have two minutes to cancel a text message.
To undo a text message, open the Messages app, press and hold the message (blue text only), and then tap Undo Send.
I will remove the text message from the thread, both on your end and the recipients. A message will appear on your thread informing you I did not send your message, but that the recipient may have seen it already.
Unfortunately, if the other person is running anything older than iOS 16, the message will not be unsent, despite what your phone says.
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If the recipient has already viewed the text, they will see a gray text status message that says, “[Name] unsent a message.” This is similar to the Delete Message feature already available in apps like WhatsApp and Signal, which displays a similar message after a text is recalled.