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WhatsApp finally rolls out feature which lets you 'unsend' messages but there's a catch

You can only delete messages for everyone up to seven minutes after sending

Utathya Nag utathya10 29 October 2017, 6:43 PM
A person holds a mobile phone showing a Whatsapp group chat

A person holds a mobile phone showing a Whatsapp group chat Image: AFP

WhatsApp has finally rolled out its most anticipated 'Delete for Everyone' feature which allows users revoke their messages in case they were sent to a wrong person or a group, or any message users would want to retract in general. Deleting the messages using the feature will make the text disappear from both the sender and recipient's chat window.

However, you can only delete messages for up to seven minutes after sending.

"Once seven minutes have passed, there is no way to delete messages for everyone," Facebook-owned WhatsApp said in its updated FAQ on Friday.

"In order for messages to be successfully deleted for everyone, both you and your recipient must be using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone," the micro-blogging platform said.

WhatsApp was working on this feature for almost a year.

"Deleting messages for everyone allows you to delete specific messages you have sent to either a group or an individual chat. This is particularly useful if you sent a message to the wrong chat or if the message you sent contains a mistake," WhatsApp noted.

Even for succesful deletion, the text won't completely disappear from the receipent's window but instead will get replaced by a 'This message was deleted' prompt on your recipients' chats.

Similarly, if you see "This message was deleted" in a chat, it means that the sender deleted their message for everyone.

This is how it works:

Open WhatsApp and go to the chat containing the message you wish to delete.

Tap and hold the message and choose Delete from the menu.

Optionally, select more messages to delete multiple messages at once. Then tap "Delete for Everyone".

"If you or your recipient are not using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, iPhone or Windows Phone, this feature will not be supported," WhatsApp said.

Recipients may see your message before it's deleted or if the deletion was not successful.

According to WABetaInfo, a fan website that tracks WhatsApp, this feature works for messages in text, videos, GIFs, pictures, voice messages, quoted messages and status replies. Also note, the feature will only be activated once you get the latest update of WhatsApp on your phone.

The second part is to delete messages only for yourself:

Deleting messages for yourself allows you to delete your copy of messages you've sent or received from your phone. This feature was previously available, but with the inclusion of the Delete for Everyone feature, there's been a minor tweak in the procedure.

"This has no effect on your recipients' chats. Your recipients will still see the messages in their chat screen," WhatsApp said.

For this, open WhatsApp and go to the chat containing the message you wish to delete.

Tap and hold the message and choose Delete from the menu.

Optionally, select more messages to delete multiple messages at once. Then tap "Delete for Me".

"The feature is being slowly rolled out and users can reinstall WhatsApp in order to download from the server the latest configuration," WABetaInfo said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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