Wednesday, August 3, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iMessage Editing and Un-Sending

John Gruber:

The edit-a-message-you-just-sent feature, intended for fixing typos or mistakes, has been tweaked. The time limit for editing is now 15 minutes, sent messages can be edited up to five times, and the recipient of an edited message now has the ability to see the edit history by tapping the small “Edited” label under an edited message.

Undoing sent messages is now implemented too, with a two-minute time limit. […] On the recipient’s device, if they’re using MacOS 13 or iOS 16, the unsent message just disappears, but it’s replaced by a small-print status message that says “Sender Name unsent a message”.

Recipients do not get notifications for edits or unsends.

Update (2022-08-10): John Gruber:

This makes me wonder whether fears about unsending with iMessage are overblown. WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in the world, and they’re expanding the grace period for unsending. Perhaps Apple will loosen this period over time, too?

6 Comments

“Recipients do not get notifications for edits or unsends.”

If they are on iOS 16 or macOS 13 they don’t. But on any other configuration they get a very poorly-worded “Edited to [new text]” that makes it look like I typed “Edited to [new text]” instead of simply editing the previous message.

This really sounds like it will be a field day for gaslighters and harassers of all sorts. I imagine it won't be long before tweens are using it for group-bullying. Within 12 months, I would bet at least one person will use this specific ability, to destabilise a person's reality by disappearing the messages they've sent, and cause that person to commit suicide.

Seems like it would be difficult to use this to gaslight people, since unsent messages leave a "message unsent" note on the recipient's phone, and there's an edit history for changes.

There's nothing that prevents people from taking screenshots of their iMessage conversations, right?

@Plume "On the recipient’s device, if they’re using MacOS 13 or iOS 16, the unsent message just disappears, but it’s replaced by a small-print status message that says “Sender Name unsent a message”."

That to me is a red flag - if a message can be removed, and you haven't proactively screenshotted the message - damage from this sort of reality destabilisation can occur before the recipient is aware of what's happening to them.

There's no way this should be allowed, without the ability of the recipient to disable the ability for someone else to reach into their phone, and remove content that is stored on their phone.

bryan pietrzak

editing and deleting is common on other social platforms no?

I'm not sure why this would be a "field day" for all sorts in any way that is different from any other social apps.

In 2022 it seems strange to not be able to edit or delete a message. I'm glad to see it finally in Messages

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