Text-based communication is full of errors, and people frequently wish they could take their words back. It is possible to rework mails on Gmail, and Twitter allows editing tweets to save face, but WhatsApp’s message editing feature has only been accessible to beta testers. That’s finally changing, as Meta today announced that message editing on WhatsApp is rolling out widely.
We have been hearing of WhatsApp message editing on and off since 2017, but we spotted it in development late last year, rekindling our hopes, and some users recently got access to the feature in the beta version of the app. Now, message editing is rolling out to all WhatsApp users worldwide on the stable release channel.
Meta says you can tap and hold a message, select the new Edit option, and correct any mistakes you made — however, the accompanying graphic suggests this is how it will work on iOS. Presumably, the Edit option on Android will be added to the top bar that appears when you long-press a message. But an iOS-style redesign of WhatsApp's context menu on Android is also in the works, so the how-to steps should be identical once that rolls out.
Once you've edited a message, the recipients won’t be able to see the older, unedited version of the text, but will see an Edited badge beside the message timestamp, indicating that you changed it. WhatsApp says the edited messages are also end-to-end encrypted, like all other WhatsApp communications. However, there is a catch — you can only edit texts for 15 minutes after sending them. This can be a limitation for some people, but it is manageable if you proofread your texts soon after sending them.
To Meta’s credit, deleting messages has been possible for a while now. You could always type out a fresh one, but message editing is a cleaner, low-effort way to fix typos and minor errors with potentially grievous implications. To recall, message deletion also rolled out with a 15-minute time limit for starters, but WhatsApp has since stretched the limit to two days. Hopefully, the current time limit for message editing is also extended soon.
Message editing is rolling out for all WhatsApp users worldwide, but the feature may take a few weeks to show up on your device. Unfortunately, Meta doesn’t specify a concrete date when the feature will be available to everyone.