Apple Considers Adding Editing to iMessage

A new patent shows how you could undo embarrassing text gaffes

Apple has a patent for editing sent iMessage texts, something virtually every typo-prone iPhone user might cheer. Still, there's no guarantee it will ever come to iOS.

Bad Text
 Getty Images

We've all done it: sent an iMessage text with a typo or or other embarrassing information that we wish we could undo. Now a new Apple patent spotted by Apple Insider details exactly how editing sent texts in iMessage could work.

Text me the details: The editing feature is actually part of a wide-ranging messaging patent filed in December 2019 that seeks to improve "methods and interfaces for messaging."

Where's the text on editing? The inability to edit sent texts is noted as one of many "drawbacks," including the inability to acknowledge messages, properly express what a user is trying to communicate, synchronize views between users and, yes, "edit previously sent messages."

iMessage Editing Patent
A pair of illustrations from Apple's iMessage Editing idea.  Apple

How it works: The patent illustrates a message with a typo and, by pressing on the message, the user is able to access an "Edit" menu, then fix the embarrassing typo.

There's more: The system also adds the ability to "show edits," so you can see the original, unedited message. It's not clear from the patent if that option appears to both sender and recipient or just sender (we know which one we prefer). There's also an option to delete a message, which might delete the message from all users' views.

Bottom line: It's hard to imagine anyone who couldn't use the ability to edit sent messages (much like we do in Slack), but patents are not promises of future features, just ideas companies are considering and ones they want to protect. Basically, they're like text messages that are sent and then frequently edited or even deleted later on.

Learn More About iMessage