Unsend iMessages: Hands-on with the new iOS 16 iPhone feature

The Messages app gets some valuable upgrades this year with iOS 16. One of the interesting features is the ability to unsend iMessages on iPhone. Follow along for a hands-on look at how the feature works, its limitations, and what the experience is like for the person on the other end.

Apple’s Messages app gains a handful of new features with iOS 16. Three big ones are the option to edit iMessages, completely unsend iMessages, and mark text messages as unread.

Below we’ll focus on how it works to unsend iMessages on iPhone. We’ve also got a detailed guide on how editing iMessage works:

Unsend iMessages: How the iPhone feature works in iOS 16

iOS 16 is currently available as a developer beta. The free public iOS 16 beta is set to arrive in July. Learn more about installing iOS 16 in our full guide.

  1. Running iOS 16 on iPhone, open the Messages app
  2. Find the conversation and the specific message you want to unsend
  3. Long-press on the message
  4. Tap Undo Send
  5. Undo Send and the new Edit message option work up to 15 minutes after sending
    • Apple notes that when you try to unsend iMessages that were sent to someone running iOS 15 or earlier, they may still be able to see them

Here’s how the unsend iMessage feature looks in iOS 16:

You don’t need to confirm the action, as soon as you unsend iMessages on iPhone, you’ll see a little animation where they burst and disappear.

unsend text Messages ios

Caveats and limitations

Something important to keep in mind, if the person isn’t on iOS 16 that you sent, and then unsent an iMessage, Apple gives a notice that they “may still be able to see your message.”

And if the person who received the original message is on iOS 16, they will get an alert in the thread that a message was unsent (shown below).

But one interesting aspect is the notification for the iMessage is removed on their device along with the message when you unsend.

unsend text Messages iPhone screen

So they will see that you used the feature, but may not know what it was (as long as they didn’t see a preview of the text when the original message was sent).

Read more on iOS 16:

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