During the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6, Apple Inc. unveiled and detailed its latest iteration of iPhone software, iOS 16.
Among other additions and features, the new update introduces an iCloud shared photo library, allows users to personalize lock screens and expands text-recognition intelligence to video. In the area of communication, iOS 16 will also enable iPhone users to edit and unsend recently sent messages, features that Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering for Apple, said are “highly requested.”
With the new update, users can recall messages up to 15 minutes after being sent, and after one is recalled or deleted, it can be recovered for up to 30 days. Federighi said these features allow users to avoid “misfires” and make typos “a thing of the past.”
Galaxy Romero, a 21-year-old psychology student, said she has sent plenty of impulsive messages and thinks the update gives her just enough time to properly respond in a heated text chain.
“When I’m in the moment, I will react on my first initial feeling,” she said. “I will become defensive and send an iMessage with how I’m feeling in that moment.” However, when the tables are turned, Romero feels conflicted, saying she would rather hear the truth said the first time without corrections or edits.
Abigail Proctor, a 21-year-old physics student, said the ability to unsend messages can be worrisome, because for her, texting has been a way to communicate more concretely when compared to other social messaging platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram, which already allow users to recall messages.
“Maybe it’s just [my age], but I do a lot of my casual messaging through Snapchat,” she said. “That’s where the [unimportant] things get said, but that’s what I like texts for – they are concrete, and I can refer back to them. I use texting for more important things.”
Apple’s decision is menial to other students like Emma Beerman, who graduated from Salt Lake Community College in 2019. Beerman said she doesn’t use messages to converse or tell stories and instead mainly uses them to quickly communicate about plans and other necessary items.
Beerman added that she doesn’t want other people to have the ability to unsend or edit messages intended for her because it can be dishonest. “If they sent it, then they probably meant it,” she said. “If they want to take it back, then it’s probably the truth, and that’s what I want to hear.”
The ability to alter a text conversation will soon sit with many iPhone users, which make up about 53% of all smartphone users in North America, according to Statista. Apple did not specify a launch date for iOS 16, but it’s expected to arrive sometime in the fall near the release of the newest iPhone.