How to Stop Other iMessage Users From Editing or Resuming Messages They Send You « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks


Apple is adding controversial features to its Messages app that lets you edit or delete any iMessage you send in a conversation. You can only use them to fix autocorrect failures or take back something you accidentally sent, but others may have malicious intent. Luckily, there are several ways to protect yourself from nefarious villains and scammers.

Even if you don’t care about gaslighting, harassment, black hat mischief, or any other possible negative, you might still want to know what one of your friends said before you edit the message or to cancel it. Unlike other messaging clients with similar functionality, such as Messenger, Signal, Snapchat, Telegram, and WhatsApp, there are easy ways to see everything changed or deleted.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as flicking a simple switch in your iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s Settings. Apple hasn’t included a way to disable the new “Edit” or “Unsend” options in the Messages app. Still, it is not so difficult to circumvent this limitation.

Option 1: Use a device with an older operating system

This is probably the easiest and most discreet option, the most logical if you have an extra Apple device that you don’t use very often. Any device running one of the following software versions will be able to see the original unmodified or deleted messages.

  • iOS 15 or lower (for iPhone, iPod touch)
  • iPadOS 15 or lower (for iPads)
  • macOS 12 Monterey or lower (for Mac)

When a contact edits an iMessage on their end (left screenshot below), you will only see the revised version on iOS 16, iPadOS 16 or macOS 13 Ventura (middle screenshot below). However, on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS 12, you’ll see the original message followed by a separate message that includes the changes (right screenshot below).

And when a contact unsends an iMessage they sent to you, you’ll see “[Contact Name] message not sent” instead of the original message on iOS 16, iPadOS 16 or macOS 13 Ventura (middle screenshot below). However, the message still appears on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS 12 (right screenshot below). The sender will receive an alert stating: “[Your Name] can still see the message on devices whose software has not been updated” (left screenshot below), which may deter them from trying to delete anything in the future.

So if you have an old iPhone that you haven’t traded in, an iPad that you only use occasionally, or a Mac that you can’t upgrade to Ventura, it might be a good idea to keep them with iOS 15. , iPadOS 15, or macOS 12 Monterey installed so you can always see changes in iMessage conversations, even if you can’t access the device until later.

Note that for this to work, you need to make sure “Messages” is enabled for iCloud so that all your messages are synced between your iCloud-connected devices. According to Apple, you also need iCloud Keychain enabled and two-factor authentication on your Apple ID to enable Messages in iCloud.

Option 2: Disable iMessage and use SMS only

This is the most inconvenient option because all the features of iMessage that you love will be useless to you. If you are willing to give up various iMessage features like screen effects and rich collaboration to see green bubbles instead of blue, it’s at least worth a try.

To turn off iMessage on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings -> Messages, then turn off the “iMessage” switch. This won’t delete your past iMessage conversations, but all future messages you send and receive will be SMS or MMS messages.

On your Mac, open the Messages app, then use the Ordered-, keyboard shortcut or click “Messages” in the menu bar and choose “Preferences”. Then select “Settings” under the “iMessage” tab and “Sign Out” completely. You can also just uncheck your phone number to stop receiving iMessages on your Mac and choose an email address to start new iMessage chats from, but signing out is probably easier.

With iMessage disabled on all your devices, any iMessage someone sends to you will be received as an SMS or MMS message through your cellular network. They will be deducted from your text allowance if you have one. Since it becomes an SMS or MMS, it will appear as such on the sender’s device. Text messages aren’t editable and can’t be unsent like iMessage, so you’ll never have to worry about the new “Edit” and “Unsend” features in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS 13 Ventura.




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Cover photo and screenshots by Daniel Hipskind/Gadget Hacks


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Steven L. Nielsen