Made an iMessage gaffe? Within a short window of time, you can undo or edit messages sent from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to other Apple users. It’s pretty much the same process on every platform that we’re going to walk you through.
Note: To use this feature on iPad, you’ll need iPadOS 16, which at the time of writing has been pushed to later in 2022. Once the update arrives and you install it on your iPad, you can start unpicking and editing iMessages.
How to send back a message
You can undo or edit iMessages you’ve sent using any device, even if it’s not the device you used to send it (for example, undoing a message with your Mac that was originally sent from your iPhone was sent). It must be messages sent between Apple users using the iMessage service.
You can tell you’re using iMessage when sent messages appear with a blue bubble. You can’t edit green bubbles (or gray bubbles, which are incoming messages from other people).
To undo sending a message, tap and hold the message (or click and hold on a Mac), then choose the Undo Send option that appears. When you retract a message, the recipient gets a small notification at the bottom of the screen stating that a message wasn’t sent. Keep in mind, though, that if the recipient is using legacy software older than iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 Ventura, Apple says that person may still receive the message.
How to edit a message
To edit a message, tap and hold (or click and hold) a message, then select Edit to change the content of the message.
Once the message has been edited, the recipient will see an “Edited” link next to your message. Tapping this link will show previous versions of the message. This works best for correcting typos rather than changing the intent of a message – retracting is better for that.
Also note that if the recipient has not updated to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 or later, they will simply receive a new message with the revised text.
Restrictions on undoing and editing messages
After you send a message, you have two minutes to undo the sending. This helps prevent abuse of the system by limiting its use to true bugs rather than allowing users to change the context of conversations.
The window to edit a message is slightly longer at 15 minutes. You can edit a message a total of five times, so make your edits worthwhile. As mentioned, all edit history is saved with the message to prevent abuse of the system.
Doesn’t work for SMS
You can only undo or edit messages sent to other Apple users, but the same doesn’t work for messages sent to Android users that appear as green bubbles. This is because SMS messages are based on older protocols.
There are ways to access iMessage on Windows and Android, but they’re not very convenient. Apple has pulled back on Android with the issue of fixing iMessage responsiveness, so we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath for native iMessage support any time soon.
TIED TOGETHER: How to use iMessage on Android and Windows