FIX: Why Can’t I Unsend a Message on iMessage in iOS 16

Key Takeaways
  • The "Undo Send" feature introduced in iOS 16 allows iPhone users to unsend messages within 2 minutes of sending, providing a crucial tool for correcting errors or reconsidering sent messages to avoid embarrassment.
  • Users may encounter issues preventing them from unsending messages due to outdated iOS versions, message type limitations, time restrictions, recipient device compatibility, and connectivity problems.
  • To troubleshoot the issue, users can try several solutions, such as ensuring both sender and recipient are on iOS 16 or later, enabling iMessage, checking their internet connection, and resetting network settings, with the option to contact Apple Support for unresolved issues.

Making mistakes or sending the wrong message to friends and family can be embarrassing. Thankfully, when Apple introduced iOS 16, they included a feature that lets iPhone users fix or take back messages that have mistakes, reducing the embarrassment. Sometimes, users might face issues using the feature to edit or unsend messages, leading to awkward situations. 

In this guide, we will explain the “Undo Send” feature on the iPhone. We’ll cover why you might not be able to unsend or edit messages on iOS 16 or later, offer solutions for these issues, and discuss whether deleting a message is the same as unsending it.

What is the “Undo Send” feature on iMessage in iPhone and when it was introduced?

The “Undo Send” feature allows iPhone users to quickly pull back a message they’ve just sent out, a function that came with the iOS 16 update in 2022. If you accidentally send a message or immediately regret sending it, you have a short time to correct it.

This feature is excellent for correcting message errors before they lead to any mix-ups or awkward moments. Once you send a message, you have around 2 minutes to think it over and decide if you want to retract it.

To take back a sent message, all you need to do is:

  1. Press and hold on to the message.
    Press and hold on the message
    Press and hold on the message
  2. Then, you’ll see an option to “Undo Send.” 
    Tap Undo Send
    Tap Undo Send

Selecting this makes the message disappear from both your and the receiver’s conversation, making it seem like it was never sent in the first place.

READ MORE: How to Play iMessage Games on iPhone [Step-by-Step Pics] ➜

Why can’t I unsend or edit messages on iMessage on iOS 16?

Why cant I unsend or edit messages on iOS 16?

There are a few reasons why you might not be able to unsend or edit messages on your iPhone, and understanding these can help solve the issue.

  • Improper system software: For these features to work, your iPhone must install iOS 16 or a newer version. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to use them.
  • Type of message matters: These options are only available for iMessage. If you’re trying to edit or unsend SMS or MMS messages, it won’t work.
  • Beyond the time limit: There’s a specific time you have to edit or unsend messages. You can edit messages up to 15 minutes after sending them and unsend them within 2 minutes.
  • Depends on the receiver: If the person you’re messaging has turned off iMessage or is using an Android device, you can’t edit or unsend messages.
  • Issues with Apple’s servers. Sometimes, the problem might be with Apple, especially if they’re doing server maintenance.

READ MORE: Solving the ‘iMessage is Signed Out’ Dilemma on Your iPhone ➜

Quick fixes for when you can’t unsend a message on iMessages on iOS 16

If you’re having trouble unsending iMessages on iOS 16, don’t worry. Let’s solve this problem with some easy steps. First, try some simple solutions like restarting your Messages app and turning your device off and on again.

These easy steps often fix small problems that could stop the app from working correctly. Here are a few more fixes you can try:

1. Ensure you are on time and meet requirements

Ensure you are on time and meet requirements

The first step is to ensure you’re fast enough and your device meets the requirements. iMessage lets you take back a message within 2 minutes and edit it within 15 minutes after sending it. But, for these options to work, both you and the person you’re messaging need to have iOS 16 or a newer version.

NOTE: If you try to unsend a message to someone with an older version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, they might still see the message. Ensure you have updated to the latest operating system versions to maximize these features.

2. Upgrade your iOS version

To use the edit and unsend message features, your iPhone and the person you’re messaging must use iOS 16 or newer. Here’s how to update your iPhone to iOS 16 or later:

  1. Open your iPhone’s ” Settings ” and tap “General.”
    Tap General
    Tap General
  2. Then, select “Software Update.”
    Tap on Software update
    Tap on Software update
  3. Here, you’ll see the latest iOS version for your device. If there’s an update available, you’ll find a “Download and Install” button. Tap on it and wait for your phone to finish updating.

3. Enable iMessage on your iPhone

To edit or unsend messages, you need to use iMessage. If your message bubble is green, you sent a text through Message, which can’t be edited or unsent. If the bubble is blue, you used iMessage.

To make sure iMessage is on, do this:

  1. Open your phone’s “Settings.”
    Open the Settings
    Open the Settings
  2. Scroll to find “Messages” and tap on it.
    Tap on Message
    Tap on Message
  3. Switch the “iMessage” toggle to the on position.
    Tap the iMessage toggle
    Tap the iMessage toggle

READ MORE: How to Enable iMessage on Any iPhone in 4 Easy Steps [2024] ➜

4. Check internet connection

iMessage needs a good internet connection to work right. So, checking your Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is a good idea if you’re having trouble with editing or unsending messages on iOS 16. Here’s how:

↪ Disable and enable Cellular

Here’s how to switch your mobile data off and back on:

  1. Go into Settings and choose “Mobile Services.”
    Tap on Mobile Services
    Tap on Mobile Services
  2. Find “Cellular” or “Mobile Data,” turn it off, and then turn it back on.
    Tap the Mobile Data toggle
    Tap the Mobile Data toggle
  3. Don’t forget to look at Low Data Mode. If it’s on, turn it off and make sure you’re on “Standard” mode.
    Make sure Standard is selected
    Make sure Standard is selected

↪ Reconnect to the Wi-Fi network

Here’s a simple way to reconnect to your Wi-Fi:

  1. Open Settings and select “Wi-Fi.”
    Tap on WiFi
    Tap on Wi-Fi
  2. Find the Wi-Fi network you’re using and tap the “i” ((info icon) next to it.
    Tap on "i" button
    Tap on “i” button
  3. Select “Forget This Network.” After that, add the network back to your list and connect to it again.
    Tap on Forget This Network
    Tap on Forget This Network

Once disconnected, tap the network again and input password to reconnect.

↪ Turn off VPN

Here is how you can check if the VPN is not connected:

  1. Open your device “Settings” and select “General.”
    Tap General
    Tap General
  2.  Scroll down and choose “VPN & Device Management.”
    Tap on VPN & Device Management
    Tap on VPN & Device Management
  3. Make sure the VPN is not connected.
    Make sure VPN is not connected
    Make sure VPN is not connected

READ MORE: What is the Difference Between a Proxy and VPN? ➜

↪ Reset network settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings can help if you are still facing issues. It’s a basic yet effective solution. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your iPhone’s “Settings” app and go to the “General” section.
    Tap General
    Tap General
  2. Find and tap on “Transfer or Reset iPhone.”
    Tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone
    Tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone
  3. Next, tap “Reset.”
    Tap Reset
    Tap Reset
  4. Choose “Reset Network Settings” from the options to set all network settings back to how they were initially.
    select "Reset Network Settings
    Select Reset Network Settings
  5. You’ll need to enter your passcode to confirm you want to reset these settings.
    Enter Passcode to start reset
    Enter Passcode to start reset process

5. Check iMessage in System Status

Check iMessage in System Status

If you’re having trouble with iMessage, it’s a good idea to see if it is happening to everyone. You can check this by looking at the status of the iMessage system.

To check, visit the Apple System Status webpage. This page shows you if Apple’s services, like iMessage, are working properly. If iMessage has a problem, like an outage or maintenance, you’ll see a yellow circle next to it. That tells you the service is having issues.

6. Contact Apple Support

Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t solve the issue, it might be time to get help from the experts. Contacting Apple Support is your next step. They have a team ready to assist you with any problems with your iPhone, including iMessage issues. 

You can reach out to them through their website, give them a call, or visit an Apple Store near you. The support staff is knowledgeable and can guide you through more advanced troubleshooting steps or offer solutions specific to your situation.

READ MORE: How to Contact Snapchat Support in 2024 [4 Different Ways] ➜

Is deleting a message similar to unsending it?

Is deleting a message similar to unsending it?

Deleting a message and unsending it might look the same initially, but they actually do different things. When you delete a message, it only disappears for you. The person you sent it to can still see it. So, deleting a message cleans up your side of the chat but doesn’t change what the other person sees.

Unsending a message is different. It’s like taking back what you just said. When you unsend a message, it disappears from your chat and the other person’s chat. This is handy if you accidentally sent something or change your mind about what you sent. 

READ MORE: How to Fix Unsend iMessage Not Working on iOS Devices ➜

Final thoughts

If you’ve ever asked, why can’t I unsend a message on iMessage iOS 16? Now, you have a deeper understanding and several solutions. Whether checking your iOS version, ensuring iMessage is enabled, or ensuring both you and the recipient are connected properly, these steps are designed to help you navigate common obstacles. 

Troubleshooting steps like restarting your device, checking internet connections, and even resetting network settings can make a big difference. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to contact Apple Support for further assistance.


How do I enable Unsend text on my iPhone? 

You don’t need to turn on anything to unsend messages on your iPhone. Just make sure your iPhone is updated to iOS 16 or a newer version.

Can someone see when you unsend a message on iMessage?

Yes, the other person gets notified when you unsend a message on iMessage. They’ll know you unsent a message, but they won’t see what the message said.

Can I unsend text SMS on iPhone in iOS 16?

No, you can’t unsend text messages sent through your phone carrier. The Unsend feature only works for iMessage, which uses Wi-Fi or your data plan.


Khalid Ali

Khalid is a versatile analyst honing his expertise for the past 5 years. With certifications from Google and IBM to back him up, his knowledge extends far beyond the routine coverage of the latest trends and in the industry.