Apple iMessage New Features Have the Dark Side of the unsend
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- Mike Hanson
- June 8, 2022
Any savvy iPhone users out there will no doubt be familiar with one of the best features introduced to Apple’s Messages app in 2011: the ability to send messages that automatically “expire” after a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, that feature ended up being problematic for a lot of people when it got abused by an unknown number of users looking to engage in some sexting without needing to worry about their dirty pics coming back to haunt them. The problem is that it also made it very easy for someone who was on the receiving end of any sort of harassment or trolling over text message to quickly get rid of all evidence by deleting whatever they’d gotten from their harasser something which could be vital if they wanted law enforcement or anyone else involved. That led Apple to introduce new safeguards into its messaging software like notifying your recipient when you delete anything from your end
A New Feature in IOS 11
The unsend function is a relatively new feature in iOS 11, which makes it possible to delete sent messages from your iPhone and the recipient’s phone. The message will still be there on Apple’s servers (and if law enforcement or Apple itself demands access to it), but it won’t be visible to either party in that conversation.
In practice, this means that if you accidentally sent an embarrassing photo or message and would like to remove it from both devices, this is now possible with a few taps of the screen. It also means that you can delete messages received by mistake before they’re seen by anyone else or even yourself. For example, I recently found out my wife had been using an anonymous email address for years without telling me; luckily I was able to retrieve all of those old emails before she realized what happened and deleted them herself!
Here’s How to do it, though
You can delete a message from everywhere by either:
- Swiping left on the conversation and tapping “Delete All”.
- Tapping “Edit” then “Select All” and finally pressing Delete.
To delete one message in a conversation, go to Settings > Notifications > Messages > Show Previews and make sure it’s turned off. Then tap Edit, select the message(s) you want to delete, tap More Options in the top right corner of your screen (or swipe right), and select Delete Message/s> Select Messages> Delete Messages.
Decide if you want to remove the Message from Everywhere or Just From your Device
After you’ve deleted a message, you can decide how long it will remain on your device. You can select to remove the message from everywhere or just from your device, depending on how much time you want your recipient to have before they see it.
For example, if someone sent a message that was accidentally sent prematurely and they want to take it back within seconds of sending it, this will allow them to do so. However, if someone sends an embarrassing picture or text message and wants everyone else who has access to their iMessage account (such as their friends) not to see the message for three days or until they delete it themselves from their own devices (which means that anyone with an Apple device), this feature would allow them that ability too.
You can delete messages from your device, and the recipient’s device. You have to decide whether or not you want it deleted for everyone or just yourself.
To delete it for everyone, tap “Delete for everyone” in the bottom left corner of the screen (figure 1).
Figure 1: When you tap ‘Delete for everyone, it will be removed from all devices connected to your iCloud account (including iMessage). Clicking on “Delete” in this section means that this message will no longer appear in any of your conversations with friends and family who have iOS devices running iOS 11 or later versions.
Delete Button and iCloud
- Tap Delete for me to delete the message only for your device. This option is available only on iOS 11, and it will delete the message from both your device and your iCloud account. When you tap this button, a pop-up window appears asking if you want to remove the message from iCloud (to remove it only from your iPhone) or remove it everywhere (that is, not just on your iPhone).
- Tap Cancel to keep the original unread message as-is but beware: once an iMessage has been sent, there’s no going back. You can’t stop a sent text or photo from being seen by others; once they’ve received it and read it, they’ll know what’s in there forever! The sender won’t see the message again either; however, they can still see their copy of the text in case they want another look at what they wrote before pressing “Send.”
“Delete for Everyone”
If you want to delete it everywhere, tap “Delete for everyone” which will delete it everywhere, including all copies.
- There are two options that you can choose from: Delete for everyone or Cancel.
- If you choose “Delete for everyone” then the message will be deleted on all devices and versions.
- If you choose “Cancel,” then the message won’t be deleted but only on this device and version of iMessage (and not others).
Messaging is a Minefield!
If you’re like me, you’ve been using iMessage for years without realizing that it has a huge problem.
Messages are not like emails, text messages or voicemails, letters, postcards, and telegrams. They’re also not like smoke signals and cave paintings. This means that when something goes wrong with an iMessage conversation, there’s no way of knowing what happened or how to fix it!
In conclusion, Apple’s new iMessage features are exciting for a lot of reasons. They allow for more personalization and creativity in a way that’s never been seen before with traditional text messaging. This isn’t just a fun update to the next generation; it has the potential to change how we communicate altogether. However, there is also some concern to be had about how these functions might affect people who rely on them as their primary method of communication with others or even strangers. As always, it will be interesting to see what happens next!