How To Delete Messages On iPhone From Both Sides

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Being able to delete messages on your iPhone is important for privacy and storage space reasons. While you can easily delete messages just from your side, deleting them from both the sender's and receiver's phones requires a few extra steps.

Here is a guide we created together with Parentaler on how to delete text messages on iPhone for both sides. We also recommend you to read article about phone tracking.

Check if you have iMessage enabled

iMessage is Apple's proprietary messaging service that allows iOS and Mac users to message each other. It uses your Apple ID and routes messages over WiFi or cellular data instead of your carrier's SMS network.

Imessege is on

To delete an iMessage from both sides, you and the other person need to have iMessage enabled. Here's how to check if you have iMessage turned on:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap on Messages.

  3. Make sure the iMessage toggle is green and "On."

If iMessage is disabled, you will only be able to delete standard SMS text messages from your side. Both parties will need iMessage in order to clarify how to delete a message on iPhone so the other person can't see it.

Delete a message just from your side

If you just want to delete a message from your phone but keep it on the other person's end, do the following:

  1. Open the Messages app and navigate to the conversation with the message you want to delete.

  2. Long press on the message bubble you want to delete.

  3. Tap on the trash icon that appears.

  4. Confirm that you want to delete the message.

The message will be removed from your side of the conversation but remain visible on the recipient's phone.

How to delete iMessages from both sides

To delete an iMessage from both your phone and the other person's phone:

  1. Open the Messages app and navigate to the conversation with the message you want to delete.

  2. Long press on the message bubble you want to delete.

  3. Tap on the More option.

  4. Tap on Delete Message.

  5. Confirm that you want to delete the message.

A prompt will appear saying "Message Deleted," confirming it has been removed from both devices. It is that easy how to unsend messages on iphone from both sides!

Note that you will only have up to 2 minutes to delete a message from both sides after sending it. After that window, you can only delete it from your phone.

Delete photos and videos from both sides

Delete photos and videos

The above method also works to delete photos and videos from an iMessage conversation on both the sender's and recipient's devices. So, if you need to know how to delete iMessages from both sides:

  1. Long press on the photo/video you want to delete.

  2. Tap on the More option.

  3. Tap Delete Photo/Delete Video.

  4. Confirm deletion.

The photo or video will be removed from your conversation history instantly.

Additionally, for users seeking to enhance their photo editing capabilities, exploring options like 'remove unwanted objects from photos' can provide additional tools for refining their visual content.

Change the time window to delete messages

By default, you only get 2 minutes to delete a message from both sides of an iMessage conversation. You can change this window to up to 15 minutes in iOS 16:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages.

  2. Tap on Message Retention.

  3. Choose between 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 day.

Now, you know how to delete iMessages from both sides, so you'll have more time to delete accidental or embarrassing messages from both phones! Just remember, the other person also has the same window of time to delete your messages.

The pitfalls you should be aware of 

Though deleting messages from both sides is convenient, you should be aware of a couple of caveats.

The pitfalls you should be aware of

First, if you delete a message from the other person's phone, it will not delete it from their iCloud backup or any other local backups they may have. So, while the message disappears from your active conversation, it could still be restored from a backup file.

Second, knowing how to delete iMessages from both sides is not a guaranteed way to remove something sensitive or incriminating. The recipient could have taken screenshots of the messages, saved photos you sent them, or otherwise archived the conversation before you deleted it. So don't assume that a deleted iMessage is truly gone forever.

Finally, if you delete a message by accident, you only have a short window of time to recover it from a backup. Apple provides tools to back up and restore your Message history, but this is limited. For example, you can't restore deleted messages once you have deleted the conversation thread containing them. So be careful when permanently erasing messages from both sides.

Default deletion methods

When it comes to deleting messages, iPhones offer default options. However, these methods often only delete the message from the sender's perspective, leaving the recipient's copy intact. This limitation raises concerns about data security and privacy.

The importance of deleting from both sides

Privacy is a top priority in today's digital age. Deleting messages from both sides ensures that personal conversations remain confidential, avoiding potential breaches of trust. Additionally, removing messages can prevent misunderstandings that may arise from outdated or incomplete information. Creating space on the device is another benefit, optimizing performance.

How to delete messages on iPhone from both sides

To achieve comprehensive message deletion, users can explore third-party apps or follow a manual process. For the latter, access the Messages app, select the conversation, choose "Delete," and confirm deletion from both sides. This step-by-step guide empowers users to take control of their message history.

Third-party apps for enhanced deletion

Several third-party apps offer advanced features for message management. While these apps provide additional functionalities, users must weigh the benefits against potential risks. Understanding the pros and cons is crucial for making an informed decision.

Tips for efficient message management

Tips for efficient message management

For those looking to streamline message deletion, setting up automatic deletion can be a game-changer. Additionally, organizing conversations can make the manual deletion process quicker and more efficient.

Addressing concerns about data security

Security is a primary concern when it comes to deleting messages. Users must ensure that their chosen method, whether manual or through an app, securely deletes the data without leaving traces. Risks associated with third-party apps, such as data breaches, should be carefully considered.

Conclusion

Knowing how to delete a message on iPhone so the other person can't see it provides convenience and privacy. Just be aware that outside of the deletion window, your messages may persist in backups and screenshots.

Delete with care and avoid sending anything too sensitive unless you fully trust the recipient. While removing messages can help you manage your active conversation history, you should be mindful of how others may preserve your deleted messages through backups and archives. Use your best judgment when sending private or incriminating content via iMessage.

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