How to Unsend a Message on iOS 16

It is no shame to admit that we all have that one message that we regret sending out bearing that embarrassing typo that was overlooked and is packed with dangerous potential to land you in the swamp of humiliation. Well, you just might be able to save yourself from repeating such a scenario.

Why? Because, on iOS 16, Apple has added an option to “unsend” a message you sent via the iMessage app under two conditions. The conditions are:

  • You must take the initiative to unsend the message within 2 minutes of sending it
  • Both the sender and recipient are using iOS 16 on their iPhone

If you can satisfy these two simple, straightforward yet unbending rules of the game, then here’s how you can get it done.

Related: Why Can’t I Unsend a Message on iPhone? Why and How to Fix

How to unsend a message with the Messages app on iOS 16

  • Requirement: Both the sender and receiver’s devices should be running on iOS 16.
  • The 2-minute window to “unsend” the iMessage is not past.

Open the iMessage app on your iPhone or iPad.

Open the chat containing the message you wish to delete and long press on the message you wish to unsend.

If there is still time left of the 2-minute countdown, you will see an option to “Undo send” on the overflow menu.

Tap on Undo Send from the overflow menu.

Done! That’s all it takes to recall a sent message on the iMessage app.

Related: iOS 16 Unsend Button: Where Is It and How to Use It

What happens when you unsend a message on iOS 16?

The message will be immediately removed from your screen of the conversation thread. After recalling a message, you will also receive a system alert that if the original recipient is using an older version of iOS, then the message would not be removed from their inbox regardless of completing all the steps from your end.

The caveat here is that there is a possibility of the message not getting retracted from the receiver’s inbox even if you took the initiative to “unsend” it on time.

What messages can you unsend on the Messages app?

As long as your iPhone runs on iOS 16, you can use the Undo Send option on all types of messages including texts, emojis, images, videos, links, and Memojis.

If a message you want to unsend appears inside a blue bubble, you can unsend it any time well within the 2-minute deadline. Messages that appear inside blue bubbles are the ones sent via iMessage and since it’s Apple (not your network operator) who controls what you can do with such messages, these messages can be unsent or edited for a short duration. 

The only messages that cannot be unsent are those that appear inside green bubbles. These messages are sent via SMS or MMS instead of iMessage and get delivered as soon as send them from your iPhone. Since Apple cannot control what you send outside of iMessage, you won’t be able to unsend or edit such texts using the Messages app.

When you long-press on green bubble messages, you won’t see the Undo Send option even if you haven’t gone beyond the 2-minute mark. 

Can you unsend a message after 2 minutes?

It is a hard no. When you long-press on a message anytime after 2 minutes of sending it, Undo Send will disappear as an option from the overflow menu. So, you can only hope that you catch mistakes or get hit with regret within 2 minutes of sending the message to act.

However, Apple offers a way to mend your mistakes by letting you edit a message well beyond this 2-minute timeline. Although you won’t see the Undo Send option inside the message’s overflow menu, you may still use the Edit option to change the content of the message you originally sent. The Messages app on iOS 16 allows you to edit a message with different content up to 5 times within 15 minutes of sending the original message. 

This, however, won’t be as efficient as unsending a message since both you and the recipient will be able to see the edit history of the message you modified including the original text that you regret sending. 

What Happens When You Edit a Message on iPhone? [Explained]

That’s all, folks! Share your thoughts and feedback with us in the comments!


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