How to Unsend an iPhone Message

By Jason Bodary

Many people have sent a text they regret.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

There are different reasons you may want to recall a text once it is sent. Unfortunately, most types of text messages cannot be recalled once the message has left your device. Depending on how you send the text message it may allow you to check when the recipient has read the message, but only messages sent via certain apps have the capability of being unsent.

SMS Text Messages

An iPhone can send two types of text messages by default: an iMessage, which can only be sent to someone who is also using an iPhone or iPad, and an SMS text, which can be sent to any other type of mobile phone. Once you press Send on an SMS message, it is sent and there is nothing you can do to get it back.

iMessage Text Messages

Unlike an SMS message, iMessages do not use the cell tower network at all, instead hooking into your Wi-Fi or cellular data network and sending the message using your data instead. This gives you the ability to tell if a message has been delivered and even to see if it has been read. Unfortunately, Apple has not yet released an option to allow you to unsend an iMessage.

Texting Via an App

There are alternatives to using Apple's built in text-messaging system, including secure messaging apps available on Apple's app store such as CoverMe and TigerText. These apps allow you to send messages -- to other app users only -- that are not only secure but that also allow you to recall unread messages, wipe already read messages and even send messages that will automatically delete themselves after a set amount of time.

Be Careful

Some apps claim to be able to recall text messages sent via SMS or require you to confirm every message before you send it. However, none of these types of apps are approved by Apple and they all require that you jailbreak your phone. Before you consider taking such a drastic step, consider that if something goes wrong with the process, Apple will consider your warranty void.