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iOS 16 gives you just 15 minutes to edit and unsend iMessages

iMessage thread on iPhone in iOS 14
iMessage thread on iPhone in iOS 14 (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • When iOS 16 allows people to edit and unsend messages, they'll need to do it within 15 minutes.
  • Recently deleted iMessage can now be restored for up to 30 days.
  • The iOS 16 update is set to ship to users this fall.

Apple's iOS 16 will finally allow people to edit messages sent via iMessage and even completely unsend them if they want to, but they'll need to be quick about it — they'll have just 15 minutes to do either.

Apple announced iOS 16 alongside iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, macOS Ventura, and tvOS 16 at the WWDC22 opening keynote on Monday and the addition of two new iMessage features stole the show. Being able to edit messages or delete them entirely is a big addition, but Apple has confirmed that both features are only available for 15 minutes after the messages were originally sent. Apple dropped the news on its new iOS 16 preview page (opens in new tab).

Those who choose to delete a message will at least get up to 30 days to recover them, which is good news for those who find that they deleted the wrong message or just need to see what it said after the fact.

With iOS 16 installed, users will also be able to mark messages as unread, a change that has long been requested but those who use unread markers as an indication that something needs a response.

The big iOS 16 release is sure to be the best iPhone update to date when it arrives on our devices this fall. The update is already in the hands of developers willing to install an initial beta, while a public beta program is set to begin next month.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • 15 minutes or 15 seconds? If it's minutes how does it keep the recipient from seeing it? Because I don't want my messages taking 15 minutes to be delivered.