How to edit and unsend a message in Messages on iPhone and iPad

Ios 14 Messages Groups Inline Replies Mentions
Ios 14 Messages Groups Inline Replies Mentions (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Messages app on your current iPhone is probably one of your most used apps. After all, it's pretty much the central hub of communication between you and all of your family and friends, whether they have iPhones or use Androids. But have you ever wished that you could edit a message that you sent that's full of typos? Or how about just rescinding a message entirely?

Apple announced some major new feature additions in the Messages app in iOS 16 during WWDC22. With iOS 16, users are finally going to be able to edit messages, as well as unsend messages entirely. These features will only work with other Apple users though, so you're out of luck if you're hoping to edit or unsend an SMS to an Android user.

Here's how to edit and unsend messages in the Messages app on your current iPhone and iPad with the iOS 16 betas.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas (opens in new tab). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to edit a message in the Messages app

Sometimes you may have sent a message that is riddled with typos and you want to correct them before the other person notices. Or maybe autocorrect got the best of you and drastically changed what you originally meant — it happens! Here's how to edit a message in iOS 16.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Start a new conversation or select an existing chat thread.
  3. Type out your message.
  4. Tap the Send button.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap and hold on the message you just sent to bring up a contextual menu. You only have 15 minutes to make changes.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Make the edits that you want to make to your original message.
  4. Tap the blue checkmark to save your changes.'
  5. It's important to note that you can now only make up to five edits per message.

(Image credit: iMore)

An edited message will show Edited underneath the message (just like the Delivered or Read status messages) to show that changes were made. The latest iOS 16 beta now shows a full log of all edits made to a message, and a single message can only be edited up to five times. Once you use up all five edits, you are no longer allowed to edit the message and will need to send a new one.

If you edit a message but the recipient is on an older version of iOS, any edits are sent as a new message.

How to unsend a message in the Messages app

Have you ever sent a message so dumb that you wish you could take it back? Or perhaps you simply changed your mind and want to rescind that text you just sent. iOS 16 not only lets you edit messages, but you can completely unsend them if need be. Here's how to unsend a message.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Start a new conversation or select an existing chat thread.
  3. Type out your message.
  4. Tap the Send button.

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap and hold on the message you just sent to bring up a contextual menu. You only have 2 minutes to make changes.
  2. Tap Undo Send.

(Image credit: iMore)

Messages that have been unsent will "poof" away and disappear. A status message will appear in the chat transcript letting everyone know that a message was unsent by the original sender. Again, if the recipient is on an older version of iOS, they will still see the message.

While the undo send feature originally had a 15-minute time limit like editing, Apple has changed this in the latest beta to only be available within two minutes of sending. So if you change your mind about a message and want to take it back completely, your window of time just got even shorter — think fast!

How to mark a conversation as unread in Messages

Another new feature in iOS 16 is the ability to (finally!) mark a conversation as unread. This is helpful if you read a message and want to respond, but can't do it immediately. Marking it as unread will remind you to get to it later.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Find a conversation thread that you want to mark as unread.
  3. Swipe right on the thread to reveal the Mark As Unread button, then tap it.
    • You can also swipe right on an Unread conversation to bring up the Mark As Read button.

(Image credit: iMore)

Big changes have arrived in your Messages

As you can see, iOS 16 brings some very big, but welcome changes to the Messages app. Finally, the days of unwanted autocorrect typos and stupid drunken texts will be a thing of the past! And you'll be able to remind yourself to respond to a message later because let's face it — that's happened to all of us.

Do keep in mind that at the moment, the edit feature only gives you a 15-minute window to make edits, and you can only make up to five edits per message. For undo send, you now only have two minutes instead of 15. If it's already past those time frames (or you used up too many edits), then you won't be able to edit or undo send, and like the good old days, you're stuck with those messages. So if you are going to want to make changes, you'd better be relatively quick about it.

Updated July 2022: Added screenshots. Updated with latest information from fourth developer beta of iOS 16.

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.