New iOS Update Will Let You Unsend Your Chaotic Texts

I fear this will make cowards of us all. Just hit send on that horny screed and live your damn life!

New iOS Update Will Let You Unsend Your Chaotic Texts
Photo:Nicoleta Ionescu (Shutterstock)

If your iPhone hasn’t already alerted you, let me be the first to let you know that iOS 16 is here with an update designed specifically for the chaos agents among us. You can now edit and even unsend text messages. Tim Cook is cooking up some drama!!

Before indulging in this absolutely dangerous update, here are some important caveats: Texts can be edited up to five times within the 15 minutes they are sent and they can be fully deleted for up to two minutes after sending it. The feature only works if the recipient also has updated their operating system. They’ll be able to see previous versions of edited messages, and if you delete a text, they’ll be notified that a message was deleted, but won’t be able to see it.

But be warned—if their texts are sent to other devices like an Apple Watch or iPad, and those devices haven’t been updated to iOS 16, they’ll be able to see the original message. In addition to creating needless anxiety spirals, this update creates multiple editions of correspondence, which frays the already thinning public concept of “truth.” At what point does the convenience of correcting a typo outweigh the all but guaranteed nightmare this will create in courtrooms using texts as legal evidence? Does this update fracture our existence into multiverses of understanding?! Is Apple creating a rot at the center of communal discourse?! “Maybe,” I write but then edit to say “I don’t know” only to delete and let you decide for yourself.

In my opinion, there is perhaps no greater high than sending a risky text to someone that there’s at least a 50 percent chance you’ll regret. But like most highs, that feeling is criminally fleeting. What happens after sending a risky text and not receiving a response can only be described as scraping the crisped, burnt remains of your ego from the bowels of your brain in hopes of rebuilding some sense of integrity. One could commend Apple for allowing the risky text senders of the world the option to renege their horny screed, but I’m afraid this update will make cowards of us all. Do not go gentle into that vulgar text, dear reader. I happen to think that character is built in the moments following our riskiest texts.

As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Now, if I had texted that to you, I could edit the message to include the fact that Uncle Ben did not actually say that in the original Spiderman or delete the message all together and pretend like I knew that all along. But it is indeed our communal responsibility to use this new iOS feature for good and not for evil. Sure, edit a typo if you’ve sent something to your boss, or unsend a message if it simply went to the wrong person. But when it comes to matters of the heart and loin? Stand fast in your digital declarations!

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