Popular messaging service WhatsApp can help spare you from a moment of weakness a mistakenly sent message. Its new delete feature allows users to retract messages that have been sent in both one-on-one and group texts.
Here’s how it works: Once a message is sent, the sender has up to seven minutes to delete it. Both the sender and recipient have to be using the most recent version of WhatsApp for the service to work, and a message can only be deleted when it hasn’t yet been read by the recipient. If all these factors are met, a line reading “This message was deleted” will appear where the original text had been. And voila: instant relief.
Of course, texting an ex isn’t the only scenario in which the feature would be helpful. It would also fix the panic that ensues when you accidentally send a negative text about someone to the person you’re talking about ― not that we know what that feels like from personal experience.
According to the app’s frequently asked questions section, the feature is “particularly useful if you sent a message to the wrong chat or if the message you sent contains a mistake.” It says nothing about being particularly useful in moving on from your failed relationship, but that doesn’t mean it’s not handy for such things.
Grazia UK reports the feature will “roll out across WhatsApp users over the next few weeks,” but it does already work for some users in the United States. Here’s what it looks like when a message has been deleted.
Even though the recipient will know that you sent something potentially embarrassing or incriminating, it’s still a vast improvement from having them see the original words.
Your move, iMessage.