Tech, Now + Beyond

If you send a text to the wrong person on WhatsApp, here’s the fix

There is nothing, NOTHING worse than sending the wrong text to the wrong person.

One of my biggest regrets is sending a text by mistake.

Or a message about something I shouldn’t have to send if not by mistake. The feeling after pressing send on WhatsApp is never a good one. It will either be an embarrassment, guilt or panic or all of them depends on the message content.

I’ve sent texts that ruined my day few times.

Sometimes I accidentally sent messages to the wrong person, which led to a shame on myself. The other times, there were emotional messages that I’d regret afterward. Since I’m using WhatsApp as my main platform for messaging, there were no ways to revoke the texts I’ve sent by mistake or didn’t want to deliver.

Until now.

The new WhatsApp update allows users to delete the message, for both the sender and receiver. In the previous version, users could only delete the message for themselves. But it wouldn’t stop the delivering process. It seemed pointless to delete the message since they could read it anyway. But this is certainly a big update for Whatsapp.

Honestly, if it were to me, I would use Telegram instead. Telegram already has this feature since the start, while WhatsApp has only just begun to implement it. But I have no choice since most of my family and friends are using this app.

At first, I thought this was just a rumor. But a new article in WhatsApp FAQ just confirmed this message deletion feature, which also guides the users on how to delete the delivered messages, for both sides. Unlike the older version which only shows ‘Delete message’ only for the sender, this time there will be two options more for deletion besides ‘Cancel’‘Delete for me’ or ‘Delete for everyone’. It works in personal and group chat as well.

In order to use this feature, users need the latest version of WhatsApp.

Sounds good to me.

But there are few caveats in this feature. Users can delete the message for up to seven minutes after sending it. There isn’t much time to make up their mind because once the window has passed, they will be stuck with it. Unlike Skype, which still allows users to delete a message that has been sent days or weeks ago, there is no turning back for WhatsApp once the time is up. Another con for this feature is the version of this app – both sender and receiver need to use the latest version of WhatsApp, whether it’s on Android, iPhone or Windows. Otherwise, it will not work at all, even though one of the users has updated his/her WhatsApp.

Plus, receivers can still see the message that isn’t  successfully deleted. Also, there will be no notification of failure in deleting messages, so the sender still has to be careful before sending a text.

For now, WhatsApp has not yet rolled out this feature to all users. Still, since the FAQ site has announced the new function in this app, I’m sure it won’t be too long before it is enabled for everyone to use it.

Sounds like there’s a lot of cons against this feature, but still, I’m happy with it. At least I don’t have to worry about people reading the message I accidentally sent to them. I can even un-send the message that could ruin my day. In a way, I’m taking back everything that I wrote in the message.

It’s a safe way to prevent something regrettable happening later. Sort of.

As much as I really stoked about this new update, there is something about it that makes me unsure. I am wondering about how it would affect the users, including me. It would be really great to undo the mistake t in sending a message. But there’s one thing about it – the person on the other side will know about the deleted message.

Wouldn’t it spark curiosity in receivers when they see the sent text replaced by ‘This message was deleted’ in the chat?

I would be, and being someone who always curious about everything, I knew I would have this urge to find out what the deleted message would be. Perhaps, this is one immature trait in me that I should change. But I’m sure pretty some people, it not all, would feel the same.

When it comes to messaging deletion feature, WhatsApp is way behind other messaging apps. It’s been long overdue since Telegram and Skype have this feature implemented ages ago. But it’s nothing weird with adding the same features other apps have. Because eventually, all apps would have made the same features just to keep their users. Gifs, tagging, photo filter, and stories features are in most apps now including Facebook and Twitter.

Some people are not happy with this poor execution of this message deletion feature in WhatsApp. But it’s still a good addition to me.

It might not be a perfect one, but it’s better than not to have it at all.