How to Unsend or Edit an iMessage on iPhone, iPad and Mac

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Made an iMessage gaffe? Within a short window of time, you can unsend or edit messages sent to other Apple users from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It’s virtually the same process on every platform, which we’ll walk you through.

To use this feature on iPad, you need iPadOS 16, which at the time of writing is delayed until later in 2022. Once the update arrives and you install it on your iPad, you’ll be ready to start unsending and editing iMessages.

How to Unsend a Message

You can unsend or edit iMessages that you’ve sent using any device, even if it isn’t the device you used to send it (for example, unsending a message using your Mac that was originally sent from your iPhone). They must be messages sent between Apple users, using the iMessage service.

You can tell you’re using iMessage if the sent messages appear with a blue bubble. You can’t edit green bubbles (or grey bubbles, which are incoming messages from other people).

Unsend or Edit a Message

To unsend a message, tap and hold the message (or click and hold on a Mac) then choose the “Undo Send” option that appears. When you unsend a message, the recipient will get a small notification at the bottom of the screen stating that a message has been unsent. Keep in mind, though, that if the recipient is using older software that predates iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 Ventura, Apple says that person may still receive the message.

Message unsent disclaimer

How to Edit a Message

To edit a message, tap and hold (or click and hold) a message then choose “Edit” to change the contents of the message.

Once the message has been edited, the recipient will see an “Edited” link next to your message. Tapping this link will reveal previous versions of the message. This works best for correcting typos, rather than changing the intent of a message—unsending is better for that.

Message edited disclaimer

Also, note that if the recipient hasn’t upgraded to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 or newer, they will simply receive a new message with the revised text.

Restrictions on Unsending and Editing Messages

You have two minutes to unsend a message after you’ve sent it. This helps to prevent abuse of the system by limiting its use to genuine mistakes, rather than giving users the ability to change the context of conversations.

The window for editing a message is slightly longer at 15 minutes. You can edit a message five times in total, so make your edits count. As noted, all of the edit history is saved with the message to prevent abuse of the system.

Doesn’t Work for SMS

You can only unsend or edit messages sent to other Apple users, but the same won’t work for messages sent to Android users which show up as green bubbles. This is because SMS messages rely on older protocols.

There are ways to access iMessage on Windows and Android, but they aren’t hugely practical. Apple has dragged its heels over the issue of fixing iMessage reactions on Android, so we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath for native iMessage support any time soon.

Related: How to Use iMessage on Android and Windows

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