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iOS 16: Here's how easy it is to edit or delete messages in the Messages app

This is low-key going to be one of the most popular iPhone features released in a long time.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer on
iOS 16 widgets on lock screen of standing iPhone
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

Apple just released iOS 16 for the iPhone Monday, and the software update brings plenty of new iOS features. 

There's a new lock screen that you can completely customize, and the Mail app has a handful of new features that make it more Gmail-like. 

But one of the biggest updates is found in the Messages app. Apple has added the ability to edit sent messages, or even delete a message you may have accidentally sent to the wrong person. 

Also: How to get your iPhone ready for iOS 16

Once you've installed iOS 16, here's how you can edit and delete sent iMessages. To be clear -- you can use the edit and delete features only on iMessages, not regular text messages.

How to edit a message

I think it's safe to say that everyone has relied too much on autocorrect when sending an iMessage, leading to potentially embarrassing typos. Prior to iOS 16, you had to own the mistake and accept that it would exist on the recipient's phone, forever. However, once you update to iOS 16, you'll have the ability to edit a message within 15 minutes after it was sent. 

You'll need to act fast after you realize your mistake. But once you do and you're still within the 15-minute window, all you need to do is long-press on the message, then select Edit from the list of options. The text field will show back up, letting you fix your error and then save it. 

Also: The worst thing about eSIM-only iPhones

On the recipient's end, if they're using iOS 16 as well, a small "Edited" label will appear below the new version of the message that no longer contains your fumble. If they tap on the Edited label they'll see a log of the changes you made to the message. If you made multiple changes, each one of them will show up in the history. 

Those on older versions of iOS will receive a second message with the corrected text. 

Edit message in iOS
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

How to delete a sent message

The process for completely deleting a message you've sent within the last 2 minutes -- helpful if you send it to the wrong contact or thread -- is nearly identical to editing a message. Originally, deleting an errant message had the same 15-minute window that editing messages did, but Apple eventually changed the limit to 2 minutes to prevent any abuse of the feature. 

Also: How the major carriers are handling the iPhone 14's eSIM

Once you realize the error of your ways, long-press on the message until you see a menu pop up. From that menu, tap Undo Send. There's a small animation that shows the message disappearing, followed by a line of text in the thread letting everyone know a message was removed. 

Easy-peasy, right?

The best part is that this feature also works on your iPad and Mac once they're running iPadOS 16 and MacOS Ventura. So feel free to make mistakes on whatever device you're chatting on -- because now you can fix it.

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