If you accidentally sent an iMessage to someone and want to undo it, here’s how to do that on your iPhone or iPad.
I’m sure we’ve all been there before: You type out a message and then send it, but realize right after you send it that you forgot to include a detail or realize that you probably shouldn’t have sent that nasty message in the first place.
In fact, if you’re reading this now, there’s a chance that this has happened to you and you’re looking for a way to protect yourself in the future.
Luckily, there is a way to undo a sent iMessage hopefully before it actually delivers to your recipient.
When you send an iMessage, it can take a few seconds before the sending actually completes, depending on your WiFi or mobile connection. It takes even longer for photos and videos to send through iMessage. During that short amount of time, you can actually undo the message from being sent as if you act fast enough before it’s delivered to your recipient.
In any case, here’s how to unsend an iMessage or text message on your iPhone hopefully before it gets delivered to the other side. Unfortunately, there is no way to unsend an iMessage that’s been delivered to the recipient already, even if they haven’t read it.
How to Undo a Sent iMessage
The process for undoing a sent iMessage or text message on the iPhone is really easy and quick to do, but you have to be quick on your feet in order to do it properly, as it only takes a couple of seconds for an iMessage to officially send and get delivered.
To undo a message that you sent, simply swipe down from the top-right corner of the iPhone’s screen to bring up Control Center and quickly enable Airplane Mode on most iPhones or iPads. On the iPhone 8 and older, you need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This will cut off all signals going to and from your iPhone, which will make it impossible for the message to send, and you’ll eventually get a “Not Delivered” message in red.
When you hit the send button on an iMessage or text message, you only have a couple of seconds to activate Airplane Mode, so you have to be quick for sure. If you’re sending a picture or a video, you have a bit longer to enable Airplane Mode.
After you receive the red exclamation mark and “Not Delivered,” you can tap and hold down on the message and then select More. From there, hit the trash can icon to delete the message. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t skip this step because once you disable Airplane Mode and your iPhone gets its signal back, it will attempt to send the message again.
Physically deleting an iMessage that’s already been delivered from a friend or family member’s iPhone won’t solve your problem either. That’s because once you send an iMessage, it’s transmitted to all of their Apple devices right away. Even if they let you delete your iMessage from their iPhone in person, they may have already seen it on another device, such as an Apple Watch. Or they could see it in the future when they pick up their iPad or MacBook.
If you find yourself needing to unsend iMessages more often than you like, you might want to make sure you have photos for your important contacts so you can tell the conversations apart at a glance. The Messages app shows contacts’ initials by default, making it easy to tap on the wrong conversation.
Since you can’t unsend iMessages all the time, you can get away with following up errant iMessages with something like ‘sorry, wrong conversation’ if it’s a minor mistake. Of course, this won’t work if for the more embarrassing iMessages, especially if the content is inappropriate.
Other iMessage Tricks
iMessage is more than just a messaging platform to text your friends. It can do a whole lot more, like sending audio messages and even sharing your location so friends know where to meet you.
To send an instant audio message in iMessage, tap and hold on the small microphone icon to the right of the text box and it will automatically start recording.
When you’re done recording the audio message, lift up your finger and you’ll be able to delete the audio message or send it (the X icon will delete the message and the arrow pointing upwards will send it). You can also tap and hold to record your message and then immediately swipe up to instantly send it, or swipe left to delete the message and start over.
iMessage also allows you to share your location with a friend, which can be great for when you’re meeting up with someone and don’t want to explain where you are or how they can get there.
Simply tap on Details in a conversation and you’ll see two options: Share My Current Location and Share My Location. Selecting Share My Current Location will send your current location. It’s important to note that this is a one-time instance, so if you move to another location, iMessage won’t keep updating your friend with your new location.
Instead, you can use Share My Location, which will bring up more options as far as how long you want to share your location, and iMessage will continue to update it whenever you move to a new location.
One other handy trick that many users could take advantage of is the ability to mute certain contacts. If you’re wanting to mute notifications for certain contacts but want to make sure that you still receive notifications from other important people, you can mute notifications for certain friends. Simply just open up their conversation window, tap on Details, and then enable Do Not Disturb.