In the early days of messaging, each correspondence was final. Email, AIM, SMS — if you sent it, the other person would see it, with zero chance for retraction. Today, however, we live in the future, where we can edit a message with typos or thoughts we regret. WhatsApp has been slow to this edit party, until now — if you know how to set it up, anyway.
As reported by Android Police, WhatsApp finally added an edit button to both its web and Android apps. Don’t rush to WhatsApp looking for it, though: The feature is currently in beta testing, released first in WhatsApp beta v22.214.171.124, so it won’t pop up just yet on the official builds, including on iOS. But you can still try it out today.
How to edit messages in WhatsApp
But first, let’s talk about how WhatsApp handles message editing. When you send a message you want to edit, long-press the text and tap the ellipsis to reveal a pop-up menu. Here, you’ll see an “Edit” button, which you can tap to start fixing up the message in question. Once you submit your change, your message will sport an “edited” label, so everyone knows it wasn’t the original message sent.
Now, you won’t able to edit any message anytime you want: You only have 15 minutes from the time you hit “send” to edit a message, after which the text is locked in as is. That’s exactly how long Apple gives you to edit an iMessage, so you might be used to that if you’re coming from an iPhone or a Mac. However, unlike iMessage, which caps you at five edits per message, WhatsApp lets you edit a message as many times as you want in that 15 minute window. It’s not clear, however, whether there’s an edit history in place.
You also can’t edit any messages you sent from another device, even within that 15-minute timeframe. If you send a message from WhatsApp on your tablet, you won’t be able to edit that message on your phone, which is an odd choice. Looking at iMessage again, you’re able to edit any message you send on any compatible device within the 15 minutes.
There’s reason to think WhatsApp’s time limit could change in the future, though. Android Police points out that the app’s message-deletion feature also started with a 15-minute limit, but now allows you to delete messages from all party members’ chats up to two days after sending. Perhaps soon we’ll be able to edit messages a day or two after we send them, as well. Until then, fix your mistakes fast.
How to enroll in the WhatsApp beta to edit messages on Android
While it isn’t clear when WhatsApp will roll out message editing to everyone, it’s easy enough to enroll in the Android beta to try it out right now. You have two options: The first is to enroll through the public beta testing program through the Play Store. Once enrolled, you’ll receive a WhatsApp update in the Play Store, which will enroll the app into the beta program. However, if the official beta program is full, you can always sideload the latest beta version from APK Mirror. Download WhatsApp beta v126.96.36.199 or newer, sign into WhatsApp, and you should see the edit option appear.
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