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WhatsApp is working on a massive & controversial change to sent messages

WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X
WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is reportedly readying a feature that would allow people to edit their messages.
  • People who spot a typo now have no way to fix it, but that could change.
  • The new feature isn't ready for beta testing, but it's being worked on.

WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature that could change the way people use the service. It's now being said that the instant messaging service will allow people to edit the messages that they sent, although a timeline isn't yet available.

The new WhatsApp feature, which is yet to be made available to beta testers and is some way off a public release, would allow people to edit messages after sending. The theory is of course that typos could be fixed after being sent, something that Twitter users have pointed to as a reason that tweets should also be editable. The issue on that platform is that tweets could be changed after they have been shared by others, potentially causing offense and embarrassment. The possibility of that happening on WhatsApp isn't so great, however.

WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp had previously considered the same feature only to ditch it so it's possible something similar could happen this time around. The same report also suggests that we won't see any kind of message history, meaning changes will mean the original message content will be lost forever.

Mock up showing WhatsApp message edit interface

Mock up showing WhatsApp message edit interface (Image credit: WABetaInfo)

As you can see in this screenshot, WhatsApp is developing a new option that will let us edit text messages, so we will finally be able to fix any typo after sending a message! Probably there won't be an edit history to check previous versions of edited messages but since this feature is under development, their plans may change before releasing the feature. In addition, details about the time window to let people edit their messages are unknown at the moment, but we will immediately let you know when there is news.

WhatsApp is one of the best iPhone apps for sending and receiving messages and media and the constant improvements are welcome. Whether editable messages are high on the list of things users would ask for isn't clear, but it's sure to be one that would be popular among those who find themselves constantly re-sending messages after sporting a typo.

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.