Typos and other errors are pretty common during our everyday texting sessions. For a very long time, though, iMessage users had no way to amend these mistakes. That was until iOS 16 and macOS Ventura debuted in 2022, along with the ability to edit or unsend iMessages. Whether you’re on iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, or their 2022 predecessors, all you have to do is follow the steps we’ve listed below.
First of all, there are some limitations. Obviously, you won’t be able to edit or unsend SMS messages, which are the ones that show up in green bubbles. Another key limitation is that you can unsend or edit an iMessage for a period of time, but if the recipient is running an older version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, they’ll still see the original message.
The Messages app is going to warn you of this. It will tell you that the message has been unsent or edited, and that the recipient may still see it because they’re running an older version of iOS (yes, it still calls out iOS specifically even if you’re using macOS). The same goes for group texts, as the app will specifically mention the people in the group who are running the older version.
Additionally, you have no more than 2 minutes to unsend and 15 minutes to edit a message. And do note that the recipient will still be able to see your edit history anyway.
Finally, early builds of watchOS 9 didn’t support editing or unsending iMessages. While it’s unclear when this feature was implemented exactly, watchOS 10 and later versions now support it. So you can fix these errors right from your wrist if you’re up to date.
How to unsend or edit an iMessage
The method of unsending or editing a message is pretty straightforward across new iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.
- Long-press on an iMessage you sent on iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS, or Control + Left-click on the message if you’re using macOS.
- Select Undo Send or Edit. A message will pop up informing you that some recipients might still be able to see unsent messages.
- If you’re editing, adjust the message as needed and hit the blue checkmark. Do note that your message will then have an Edited label under it, and recipients will be able to view the edit history.
That’s it. The message will either be unsent or changed based on what you just did, assuming that the recipient is on iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and/or a newer OS version. This makes iMessage a more practical instant messaging service for those who don’t always proofread or double-check their messages when texting. After all, accidents happen, and knowing that there is an undo button available encourages people to adopt the platform instead of relying on a third-party alternative.