iOS 16: Apple Now Lets You Edit & Unsend iMessages On Your iPhone
— Updated on 29 January 2023

iOS 16: Apple Now Lets You Edit & Unsend iMessages On Your iPhone

— Updated on 29 January 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

As a swift game-changer for all those impulsive texts you like sending, Apple will now let you edit and unsend iMessages as part of a raft of new features coming to iPhone users with iOS 16. Apple’s latest iPhone software update was released earlier this week and is currently available for download on any iPhone released from 2017 onward. And while editing texts on Apple phones is one of the headline features of the new operating system, there are also a bunch of other helpful upgrades that’ll change the way you use the iPhone, including significant changes to the iPhone lock screen.

Apple’s iOS 16 is compatible with all iPhones back to and including the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. That’s five years’ worth of devices included in the latest update, which is a smaller window than previous operating system updates, meaning that anyone still stuck on the iPhone 7 won’t be able to get past the iOS 15.

There are three main takeaways from the iOS 16 update that are worth getting across, while the other changes are small, iterative and hardly noticeable updates that help tighten up the iPhone operating system ahead of the iPhone 14 launch – which will put a bigger focus on the Apple lock screen with the long-awaited Always-On Display.

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iOS 16: iPhone Lock Screen

The main thing to know here is that, with iOS 16, Apple has launched widget support for the lock screen. This will make the phone much more customisable at a glance, with the option to install up to five separate widgets on the lock screen including those made by the likes of Facebook, Gmail and Reddit.

Apple has several widgets optimised for the lock screen ready to go, theming your phone based on your lifestyle with software from Weather, Calendar, Clock, Fitness and Reminders. No doubt there’ll be a bunch more coming from third-party app developers as well, especially considering the iPhone 14’s Always-On Display.

The display has also been given a function called Photo Shuffle, which means you won’t be just choosing between two images to wallpaper your phone between the lock screen and your home screen. Photo Shuffle – as you can tell from the name – means you can pick a bunch of different photos and a different one will appear each time you unlock your phone. It’s a function that smart tablets like Alexa Show and Google Home have had for years, so it’s nice to see iPhone catch up even if it’s a small decorative change.

iOS 16: Visual Look-Up

You’re probably already familiar with iPhone’s feature that lets you highlight and extrapolate text from an image and copy/paste it into something like Google Translate. The same tech that makes this possible now forms Apple’s Visual Look Up update, which is a new iOS 16 feature that helps users identify and isolate a photo’s subject from its background.

This means the iPhone will be able to work more efficiently at pulling data about any subject from an image or a video, spanning plenty of practical applications that should change the way a lot of users – especially content creators – grab information out of their device for al kinds of subjects.

Visual Look Up is one of those new iPhone features that doesn’t initially seem like much of a big deal. Not everyone is going to make much use of it, but growth here demonstrates tech that Apple should be focusing on more in the future.

iOS 16: Live Text

Much like Visual Look Up, Live Text is more of an iterative change for iOS 16 and leans heavily on the iPhone’s ability to recognise and isolate text within images. It can be used to identify the likes of addresses, contact information and foreign languages. That’s nothing new for the past few operating systems, but the iOS 16 update takes it a bit further by now letting you use Live Text with recorded video.

Reportedly, the video would have to be fairly smooth and stable for Live Text to work, but as long as it’s manageable, the iPhone is now able to highlight text and share it with different apps like Mail, Messages and Notes.

iOS 16: Edit & Unsend iMessages

This is the big iPhone update most people will be celebrating once they download the new iOS 16. And while most of modern society’s current regretful DM’s take place in Apps other than iMessage, like Instagram and WhatsApp, it’s still an appreciated move from Apple.

Note a few caveats though. Editing and deleting messages only works for iMessage and both the sender and recipient must have iOS 16. Mind you, that means if you’re in a text chain with someone whose texts are coming up as green bubbles, that most likely means they are Android users. The whole editing thing won’t work with them.

If you send an iMessage with a typo, for example, you simply need to hold that message and click the ‘Edit’ option. Then it’s a matter of making your fixed and tapping the blue check mark. But you only have 15 minutes once the text is sent to edit it. Similarly, you only have a two-minute window if you want to delete it entirely.

The long-overdue feature is welcome, of course, but just know that if you do happen to make an edit to your text, the recipient will still be able to see the edit history (a bit like on Facebook), so if they’re curious enough to find out why you edited your message they can easily find out.

iOS 16 iPhone Updates – Frequently Asked Questions

Is the iOS 16 iPhone update free?

Yes, it’s completely free to download iOS 16.

What iPhones are compatible with iOS 16?

You’ll have to have an iPhone released in 2017 and onward to be able to download iOS 16. That means iPhone 8 users will be able to download the new iPhone operating system, but anyone with an iPhone 7 or below is stuck with iOS 15.

How long do I have to edit an iMessage in iOS 16?

After you’ve sent an iMessage and noticed a few typos, you’ll only have 15 minutes to edit and two minutes to delete it.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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