If you're a WhatsApp user, your life just got a little less cringeworthy. You'll no longer have to awkwardly apologise for the insult you hurled at your mate in a fit of rage or explain away the embarrassing admission you made in the group chat after a few too many drinks. WhatsApp has finally answered our prayers and launched an unsend feature.
The feature, officially called "Delete For Everyone", has been in development for a few months but is now gradually becoming available to users, according to WhatsApp insider WABetaInfo. It allows users to make messages disappear from a conversation – making them invisible to both the sender and recipient(s).
However, it will only work if you and the recipient are both using the latest version of the app and – crucially – the messages can only be deleted within seven minutes of being sent. After that cut-off point, you're left on your own with your regrets. It works for all types of WhatsApp messages, including text, videos, GIFs, voice messages, locations and images (very useful).
You can check to see whether the feature has landed on your phone by tapping and holding a message you want to unsend – if it has been enabled, a menu with "Delete" will appear. Simply hit the "Delete For Everyone" option et voilà. You'll be notified if the feature hasn't worked.
"Delete For Everyone" isn't foolproof, however. Unfortunately, if the message you want to delete has been quoted by someone else, you won't be able to recall it – at least not yet, WABetaInfo reported. And if the recipient had already read the message before you decided to recall it, well, bad luck.
“This is particularly useful if you sent a message to the wrong chat or if the message you sent contains a mistake,” the app says in its FAQs. “Messages you successfully delete for everyone will be replaced with ‘This message was deleted’ in your recipients' chats. Similarly, if you see ‘This message was deleted’ in a chat, it means that the sender deleted their message for everyone.”
The feature hasn't been rolled out universally yet, so don't worry if you can't take advantage of it at the moment. While we're extremely excited, being notified that someone else's message has been deleted is going to be a whole new level of frustrating.