Apple working on allowing users to edit sent Messages

A newly-revealed Apple patent application and accompanying illustration reveals work on allowing users to edit sent Messages. “Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interfaces for Messaging,” US patent application number 20200133478, concerns electronic devices that display “a messaging user interface of a message application.”

Edit sent Messages. Illustration from Apple's patent application depicting the ability to edit a previously-sent message
Illustration from Apple’s patent application depicting the ability to edit a previously-sent message

William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

“But current messaging applications have numerous drawbacks and limitations,” says the patent. “For example, they are limited in their ability to easily: acknowledge messages; edit previously sent messages; express what a user is trying to communicate; display private messages; synchronize viewing of content between users; incorporate handwritten inputs…”

Apple wants to bring full text editing capability for after you’ve sent a message, and it wants to bring much fuller apps to within Messages, too.

Some messaging services, such as Slack, do allow you to edit a message after you’ve posted it. These are generally working within one central environment, though — they’re not transmitting a message to another user over the cellular network. Each user is logged in to the central server, so an edit can be applied there by the writer and seen by all readers.

With text messaging, it’s much more complicated to retrieve a sent message, edit it, and send it back. Apple’s Messages is not the only service that currently can’t support this. While WhatsApp has a “Delete Messages for Everyone” feature that lets you remove an entire erroneously-sent message, it doesn’t have the ability for you to edit instead.

MacDailyNews Take: Who, besides virtually everybody, wants this feature to come to Messages ASAP?


  1. All I want is to be able to do is mark a message as unread after I’ve received it. Then I can go back and respond when I have time. You can do that on WhatsApp.

  2. Beyond fixing typos (which just seems fussy and unnecessary, what’s wrong with just resending they corrected word if it’s important as everyone already does) — allowing edits to messages after they’ve been sent and read seems like an invitation to gaslighting, destroying evidence and other deceptions. Unless that “show edit history” is always preserved (and uneditable) for all on the thread, and one can enable real-time notifications when old messages are edited, and badges for messages with unread edits, etc. Call me old fashioned but seems like it just adds complication to something that works fine as-is. Like something Microsoft would do, not Apple.

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