We’re usually forced to live with our mistakes in this world, but WhatsApp is now giving us a way to erase our little embarrassments.
Starting now (at least for some users), if you accidentally send a message to someone, you’ll be able to delete it for everyone who can read it as long as you act within seven minutes. WhatsApp describes the process more thoroughly in an updated FAQ entry.
WhatsApp already gave the illusion of allowing this, but the truth was that only you would see the message deleted from your client.
Whoever else you sent the message to would continue seeing it until they deleted it themselves, which could be a problem if you sent the message to the wrong person or it “contains a mistake.” We suspect that’s likely a euphemism.
The feature is clearly labeled, too, so you’ll now see an option called “delete for everyone” when you select the trash can option after holding down your thumb on the message. Whenever someone on the other end tries to read the message in the future, they’ll just get a notification saying, “This message was deleted.” Again, though, you’ll have to act within seven minutes of sending the message for it to work.
Update and wait
You may have to wait a while to enjoy the full benefits. For one, it’s a gradual rollout, so not every user has it yet. Secondly, both users must have the latest version of WhatsApp running for it to work properly. Otherwise you may hit “delete for everyone” and sadly find that everyone but you can still see it. WhatsApp won’t send you a notification if this turns out to be the case.
And then, of course, there’s always the chance that the recipient will see your message anyway, allowing them to screenshot your “mistakes” for everyone to see.
In other words, we’re glad the feature has made it to WhatsApp, but you might want to play it safe and just be better aware of what you’re sending when you send a message.
Rumors about the feature first dropped last month, and we’re happy to see it made it into the live build.