Can You Unsend an iMessage? Tips to Avoid Texting Disaster

January 17, 2022 • Shannon Flynn


So you sent a message on your Apple device that you didn’t mean to send. We won’t ask what the message contained, but we’re guessing it’s pretty serious if you need to find a way to unsend an iMessage. But is that even possible?

The short answer is No. You cannot unsend an iMessage. However, not all hope is lost: if the message has not yet been delivered, you can stop it from reaching its destination. You can make one last-ditch effort to “unsend” the message.

Turn on Airplane Mode

If you realize you didn’t want to send an iMessage immediately after hitting send, quickly swipe down to your phone’s shortcut features and turn on Airplane Mode. It will cut off the signal between your phone and the recipient’s phone, blocking the message from going through.

When you see the “Not Delivered” notification and see a red exclamation mark next to the message, you will know this tactic worked and can move on to the next step. If you don’t see these cues, you’re out of luck. 

Delete the Message

If you turned on Airplane Mode in time to stop the message, that means it’s currently sitting in limbo, waiting for you to reactivate your internet connection so it can complete its journey. You obviously don’t want that to happen, so keep Airplane Mode on for the time being. 

Go into the conversation thread and click on the message in question. Tap down and hold onto the message. You’ll see a few options pop up. Click on the “More” option, and follow the directions to delete the message from there. 

If you managed to make it this far, congratulations: you narrowly avoided a crisis. But it only works if you turn on Airplane mode in time and the message fails to send. If you delete a message that’s already delivered, the recipient can still see it.

If you’re unfamiliar with how iMessage or other vital functions on your iPhone work, do some research to make sure you avoid falling into obvious traps and can fix minor bugs, if necessary.

Damage Control

Even if you can’t unsend an iMessage, you can still do some damage control. Let’s say the message you accidentally sent was embarrassing, but not that serious. Here are some appropriate follow-up messages:

  • “Sorry about that! Wrong conversation.”
  • “Didn’t mean to send that, my bad!”
  • “I am so sorry. Idk what I was thinking when I typed that.”
  • “Please ignore that message lol.”

Something short and apologetic should make the recipient brush off the situation without much questioning. If you treat it as a minor mishap they probably will too, but we can’t guarantee the other person’s reaction.

If the message was more serious, there’s not much you can do except take a deep breath and accept the consequences with grace and dignity. Own up to your mistake and try to put the ordeal behind you.

You can take other proactive measures to avoid putting yourself in this situation again. Try these iMessage tricks to practice safe mobile communication and stop information from getting into the wrong hands.

Delete or Mute Conversations

iMessage allows you to mute your conversations with an individual or group, so if there’s a conversation in your message queue you want to avoid, simply mute it. You’ll no longer get any notifications from that conversation, and the chances of you accidentally sending that person/people a message will decrease.

You can take this tip one step further and delete the conversation altogether by simply swiping left and clicking on the red trashcan icon. You will permanently delete all correspondence between you and the other participant(s) from your device. However, you would have to start a new message thread with them, so practice this tactic with due diligence.

If the conversation no longer exists, the chances of you accidentally sending them a message are slim – or at least slimmer than they were before. 

Type With Intent

A final word of advice: only type messages you intend to send. Typing everything that’s on your mind might alleviate some temporary stress, but all it takes is one misplaced thumb tap for an irreversible mistake to occur. 

Play on the safe side and type every message as if it’s your final draft and the recipient can already see it, and you won’t have to read an article like this again. You can’t unsend an iMessage, but you can control what words you choose to use, so choose them carefully.