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

Since the release of the iOS 16 developer build, all the new discussions in the tech world have been about the impressive additions and changes made to improve the utility and functionality of supported devices. One of the much-discussed and applauded changes is the “undo send” introduction to recall a message on the iPhone.

In this post, we will take a close at the topic of the odd case scenario– when and why can’t you unsend a message on your iPhone and possible fixes.

Why can’t I unsend a message on my iPhone?

The reason why you cannot recall a sent message on iPhone can only be attributed to the fundamental conditions required to complete the action.

The first condition is that your iPhone or iPad is running iOS 16. If only the sender (you) has iOS 16, your iMessage will still show the option to “Undo Send”, but the message will not get recalled from the recipient’s inbox.

The second condition is that the communication activities transpire via the iMessage app. If you send a message via SMS or use any other messaging apps that is not a part of the Apple ecosystem, then, you cannot unsend a message using the “Undo Send” feature on iOS 16.

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

The third condition is that you meet the time limit of 15 minutes allowed to retrieve a message sent out via the iMessage app. If you attempt to retrieve a message sent out any time past that duration, the “Undo Send” option would have long vanished from the accessible options on iMessage.

Now, let us look at scenarios under which a message you sent cannot be recalled at how to fix them.

Related: What Happens When You Undo a Message on iMessage?

How to fix “undo send” issues on iPhone?

Below we have listed 4 ways to fix “undo send” errors on iPhone 

1. Sender and recipient must both use iOS 16

The “undo send” feature is not backward compatible; that means even if you “unsend” a message it might not get recalled if the recipient of the message uses an older version of iOS on their device. So, the first thing to confirm is whether both you and the recipient use devices that run iOS 16. 

2. The communication medium must be iMessage

Apple has introduced the “unsend” message option on its native messaging app which is iMessage. For the feature to function without a glitch, make sure that you send out the message using iMessage to someone else’s iMessage inbox. 

You can distinguish an iMessage from an SMS using the color of the text messages. If the message you sent shows in a green box, then it was delivered as an SMS and not an iMessage.

Hence, you cannot retrieve that message.

You can confirm if a message is delivered to the iMessage app if the sent message appears in a blue box.

3. Recall within 15 mins

The protocols guiding the app stipulate that you can only recall a sent message if the initiative to undo is undertaken within 15 minutes of sending the message. If you cross the upper limit of the allotted time, the “Undo Send” option will vanish from the list of actions that can still be taken on the message.

4. Try relaunching the iMessage app

If you cannot see the Undo Send option on your iMessage even if all the conditions mentioned above are perfectly satisfied, then it could be because of an app glitch. Close iMessage app and relaunch it before trying again.

That’s it! Hope you got the answers you were looking for! Share your feedback with us in the comments!