Why you can't delete a text message

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Why can’t I delete a text message?

Have you ever tried to delete a text message, only to find the person you are talking to still has access to it? In this video/podcast episode, Lucas explores the new feature from Apple that will allow for deleting text messages and he talks about why the problem of deleted texts is more complicated than it seems. 

My father-in-law wrote me a text message the other day and the last three words were a typo. He then sent a follow up message that said, "Delete that last 3 words."

I said, "I'd have to have access to the source code of the internet to delete those last three words. They will exist forever."

This was true until just recently when Apple announced that they are allowing for a few new features. Namely, for two minutes after you send a text message you will be able to and send it. For 15 minutes after you sent a text message you’ll be able to edit it.

It’s 2022, why are we just now talking about deleting texts. Hasn’t everyone sent a text message that they wish they could understand? Well, it’s really not that simple.

What has the policy been up until now? 

If you’re on an iPhone, and you do a long press, there is an option to delete a message. This has been in place for a while, I wondered what that did.

For that one I had to ask apple (Since I'm on an iphone). Here's what Apple said:

"You cannot affect the message on the other phone. If you delete it on your phone it does not delete it from the recipients phone."

Ok, so "delete" in this case doesn't really mean "delete." It means, "shove it in a back drawer so I don't have to look at what I said." 

So let's say you texted your grandma to tell her that her moomoo looks ridiculous, but then after you send the message you changed your mind. You delete the message from your own phone, but it doesn't really matter. The text is still on grandma's phone. So, unless you're going to hire Tom Cruise to do his mission impossible thing, and break into grandma's high security bedroom, to swipe the phone, then you only have one hope; that grandma doesn't remember how to get to her text messages.  

But why? Why is it no-take-backsies. Why can't you choose to delete that message on both phones? Their your words, right? Shouldn't you get to do with them as you wish?

Wrong. They're not your words. 

You can only edit your message. You can rearrange it. You can even delete it completely until you hit send. Why? Because once you say it to another person, it's no longer yours to delete. It's shared property. With the send but it magically converts from thought to conversation. Thoughts are yours, but conversation is co-owned property. 

Although this is true of text messages, it's true of spoken words as well. Take note of these important verses on the subject. 

…Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19

…Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Matther 12:36

Let’s think about what we say today. 

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