We’ve all done it. You get a WhatsApp message from someone, open the app, rapidly fire off a response… and then realise you’ve sent the wrong message to the wrong person or group. More often that not the result is a bemused recipient who at worst finds out the embarrassing pet name you use for your significant other. But sometimes the result is a surprised hockey group that now has photographic evidence of your personal nether-regions grooming preferences. How embarrassing. Users of the instant messaging service have been requesting the ability to delete messages for ages, and at last their wish has been granted.
WhatsApp announced the new feature on its blog on Tuesday, explaining how it works and adding that there’s a time limit. “Starting today you can now delete messages you sent by mistake — whether to one person or an entire group. Here’s how it works: tap and hold on the message, choose ‘Delete,’ and then ‘Delete for everyone.’ You have seven minutes to delete the message after it’s sent.” Of course, this is no good if you don’t spot the mistake for a while, and it can’t stop a speedy fingered recipient from taking a screenshot of your mistake.
The feature update is rolling out gradually and is available in WhatsApp for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and in the desktop version of the service. Crucially, if the recipient of your wayward message hasn’t updated to the latest version of the app you won’t be able to delete the message. Thanks to automatic app updates, though, this shouldn’t be a problem for long.
Last month WhatsApp added another welcome feature: real-time location sharing. What else would we like to see? An “edit” function so we could correct typos. Maybe in the next update, eh?