Can you unsend an iMessage? A simple hack to follow

Have you sent an iMessage by mistake? Looking for a way to recall the message? Well, even though Apple doesn’t have an ‘unsend’ feature there is a way to work around that. This is possible since iMessage functions quite differently compared to the normal texting platform (SMS).

iMessage doesn’t use the conventional method of sending messages; via telecom towers and relaying them to the recipient. Instead, iMessage sends messages via Apple servers which are then relayed to the recipient.

To this effect, iMessage ends up using WiFi or data to send a message. Therefore, it is easier to recall a message.

Let us presume this is the message you want to recall.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is only possible before the blue progress bar gets to the other end.

You will have to proceed as follows:

  1. Turn the airplane mode on immediately
  2. Go to Settings > Tap on the Messages section > Toggle off Send as SMS option
  3. Go back to iMessage > Delete the message
  4. Turn the airplane mode off

Read Also: How to turn off iMessage on your Mac

Turning the airplane mode on

This step needs you to be fast on your fingers to unsend the iMessage. You can access the airplane mode from either the settings or the control center.

This however depends on the iPhone model you are using. If you are using an iPhone X or the later models, swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.

If you are using an iPhone 8 or earlier models, swipe up from the bottom edge of your screen.

From there you will be able to locate the airplane mode icon, press it as fast as you can while the blue progress bar is loading. Make sure you do it before it gets to the end.

The blue progress bar represents the message being sent to the Apple servers. You will have to wait for about five minutes for the message to stop trying to resend itself.

When the ‘not delivered’ ribbon pops up in the chat, you will have to delete the message so that it might not get sent when your device reconnects to your WiFi or data plan.


Go to Settings

Head over to the Settings, tap on the Messages section, and toggle off the “Send as SMS” option.

This is very important because this ensures that any message that isn’t delivered by iMessage will eventually be sent as a normal text message.

If this option is on, the message will be sent as an SMS immediately after your turn off the airplane mode.


Go back to iMessage

To unsend the iMessage, head back to iMessage so that you can now delete the message. Long press the message you want to delete. There are options that will be showcased at the bottom of your screen.

Tap ‘More…’ and then finally tap the bin icon that will be located on the bottom left corner. Tap on the “Delete Message” pop-up option that will come afterward.

Read Also: A guide to recalling an iCloud email (Apple Mail)

Turn the airplane mode off

Disable airplane mode to return your phone back to normal. To do so, swipe your finger up from the bottom screen or downwards from the upper screen so as to reach the Control Center.

Then, tap Airplane Mode to disable it.

By doing this you will be able to recall a message before it gets sent. There are rumors that Apple is in the works of coming up with new iMessage features which will include the option to retract messages. Hopefully, it will be one of the features associated with their upcoming operating system (OS).

But then again it might not be. So as to be safe, I would recommend the use of third-party applications to send messages in the near future that allow you to recall them if need be.

An example is Privates! This app allows you to send messages to other app users only and you can recall the messages and even prevent the recipient from taking a screenshot of the chats. You can get it from the Apple App Store.

Hopefully, you have succeeded in unsend an iMessage. Feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions or suggestions for other articles.

Read Also: How to hide alerts on iMessage