Apple is toning down iOS 16’s vaunted iMessage edit and unsend features. The company has released fourth developer betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura that limit you to five edits for a given message within the available 15 minutes, and shrink the unsend window from 15 minutes to just two. You can also tap a message to see its edit history — previously, you would only see a notice that it had been edited.
The company didn’t explain the decision. We’ve asked Apple if it can share its reasoning. However, AppleInsideroutlined the potentials for abuse with the previous approach. Someone could edit a message to make it appear that you agreed to something. They could alternately harass you by sending messages that last long enough to be noticed, but disappear before you can preserve the evidence.
You can always prevent edits and unsends by disabling iMessage. That forces conversations to SMS texts, where those features aren’t available. Apple’s moves won’t completely prevent harassment, but might encourage you to leave iMessage on without fear that someone could easily twist your conversations.