Following months of preparation, WhatsApp has finally added the ability to delete those embarrassing messages you sent by mistake before your contact has had a chance to read them. The best part is that the feature will be available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone users.
The annoying thing is that, despite updating its FAQ page to notify users about the new functionality, it seems the Facebook-owned messenger has not yet rolled out the new feature to all users. So you ought to think twice before you start dropping text-bombs with reckless abandon.
TNW staffers have so far been unable to use this functionality (with the latest version of WhatsApp). But given that it is already announced on the official FAQ page, it shouldn’t take too long before it is enabled for all users across the board.
The new feature will be called ‘Delete for everyone’ and will be available to use for both messages sent to group and individual chats. The company says that all purged texts will be replaced with a ‘This message was deleted’ notice.
Users can follow these steps to check whether ‘Delete for everyone’ has landed on their phone:
- Go to WhatsApp and open any chat thread with a message you wish to recall.
- Tap and hold on the message in question. The extended options should show up at the top of your screen. Please note that you can optionally select more than one messages to delete multiple texts at the same time.
- Once you’ve settled on the messages you want gone, tap the Delete (thrash bin icon) and select the ‘Delete for everyone’ option.
Assuming everything goes smoothly, deleted messages will disappear from both the chat threads as well as the notification center.
WhatsApp insider WABetaInfo has obtained screenshots of the new functionality in action. Here’s what you should see:
There are a few things you should be mindful of when using the feature though. For one, WhatsApp warns that you can only recall texts up to seven minutes after sending them. Once that limit has passed, there is no way to purge the content of a text.
Another caveat is that, in order to successfully wipe messages, both the sender and the recipient must be using the latest version of WhatsApp and have ‘Delete for everyone’ enabled.
The Facebook subsidiary warns that recipients might see messages that were recalled, but did not successfully delete. More worryingly, WhatsApp won’t notify senders in case the deletion request has failed. So you will have to keep an eye out yourself.
The new deletion feature is gradually rolling out to users this week, and you’ll of course need the most recent version of WhatsApp, as well as the person receiving the message.