WhatsApp: how to edit messages as new 15-minute feature rolled out

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The new feature is being rolled out globally in a tiered system

Meta-owned platform WhatsApp has just announced an editing feature on the app which will allow users to modify messages up to 15 minutes after they have been sent. The feature has started rolling out globally, and it should become available to all users in the next few weeks. This comes as WhatsApp announced five new features were due to be released.

In a company blog post, Meta wrote the new function is for "the moments when you make a mistake, or simply change your mind", which includes “correcting a simple misspelling to adding extra context to a message”. But how does it work? Here’s how to edit a WhatsApp message:

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How to edit messages on WhatsApp?

Messages which have been edited will have an “edited” notification alongside them but the edit history will not be displayed so a user cannot view what the message said previously before it was altered. Before, messages can be corrected by deleting the message and re-sent with the initial meaning, but users were aware of its removal as the phrase “This message was deleted” would appear. However, now users can edit their message by holding down on the message and selecting “edit” from the menu which appears. 

This function is only available for 15 minutes. Previously, WhatsApp has said the feature is used to solely correct any typo in its blogpost rather than to modify the meaning of messages - which is why there is a limited amount of time to edit a message. WhatsApp said: “From correcting a simple misspelling to adding extra context to a message, we’re excited to bring you more control over your chats. All you need to do is long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after.”

WhatsApp has added a new feature which will allow users to edit messages for up to 15 minutesWhatsApp has added a new feature which will allow users to edit messages for up to 15 minutes
WhatsApp has added a new feature which will allow users to edit messages for up to 15 minutes | Miquel - stock.adobe.com

Meta’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg illustrated the WhatsApp change on Facebook page by showing a message which had been changed from  “Beast of luck!” to “Best of luck!”. 

Competing apps such as Signal and Telegram already allow users to edit their messages, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow editing on their platforms. Twitter offers an editing feature to subscribers to its Twitter Blue service, which gives them 30 minutes to edit after it has been sent. 

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Apple has also created a message editing feature last year for users with the release of iOS 16. Those using iMessages can now edit their messages after they are sent. 

When will feature be rolled out?

Although the feature starts to roll out today, this is a tiered global release which means it could take a few weeks for everyone to receive this update. Users should keep an eye out for any updates WhatsApp is offering.  

Currently, Meta is in a dispute with the UK government about end to end encryption, where only the receiver and sender can view messages. With the creation of the upcoming Online Safety Bill, this feature could be forced to weaken in a move to attempt to protect children from illegal content. However, WhatsApp and Signal signed an open letter warning that this new bill could affect the UK’s privacy and safety. The aim for weakening this form of encryption is so messages can be scanned or material relating to things such as child sexual abuse or terrorism.

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