Last year, the messaging platform WhatsApp announced that it would be rolling out a feature that allows users to delete messages sent on the platform within seven minutes of sending them. A new update has been released to change the time limit for deleting messages to slightly longer, giving users the chance to get rid of messaging mistakes, hopefully before any recipients notice.
WhatsApp’s latest update for iOS, 2.18.31, gives users an extended time limit to delete messages that were sent by mistake, changed from last year’s seven minutes, to 4,096 seconds – or one hour, eight minutes and 16 seconds.
How to use “delete for everyone”
WhatsApp’s “delete for everyone” feature can be used in group chats or individual conversations, provided that all users are using an updated version of the app.
To delete a message (this needs to be done within the time limit of one hour, eight minutes and 16 seconds after sending it), tap and hold the message that you want to delete, tap on “Delete” at the top of the screen, then select “Delete for everyone”. The recipients of the message will instead receive a notification that reads, “This message was deleted”.
You can also delete messages for yourself to free up space on your phone. Again, press and hold the message, select “Delete”, and then select “Delete for me”. This will have no effect on the way messages appear on the recipient’s chat screen.
Just because you have used the “delete for everyone” feature, it doesn’t mean that recipients might not have seen the message or taken a screenshot of it. Also, for this new feature to work, you and all other recipients need to be using the latest software version of WhatsApp.
WhatsApp will not notify you to let you know whether a message was successfully deleted or not, so use this feature at you own risk and, as always, use your discretion when using any public messaging platform.