iOS 16’s editable iMessages may not play nice with older iPhones

The ability to edit and unsend messages was one of the flagship features of iOS 16 announced earlier this month, but the functionality may not work well if you’re messaging anyone who’s not using the latest version of Apple’s software. The latest iOS developer beta 16 includes a messy workaround to allow newly editable iMessages to be received on iPhones without iOS 16, 9to5Mac reports. It could prove annoying for anyone in an iMessage group chat using an older iPhone or Android.

Rather than simply seeing the edited version of a message, if someone running iOS 16’s second beta tries to edit an iMessage sent to a device with an older version of the software, then the latter will receive the edit as a second text, preceded by the words “Edited to. Previous developer betas of iOS 16 would not send anything at all when trying to edit a message sent to a non-iOS 16 device. But the new approach looks pretty messy for the recipient, who’ll see multiple messages. 9to5Mac reports that Apple’s software is unable to automatically delete the original message after an edited version is sent.

For most iPhone owners, the issue is unlikely to persist for long given that iOS 16 will be available for devices going back to 2017’s iPhone 8, not to mention the fact that Apple is very quick at getting new versions of its software rolled out. But it could still prove annoying for Android users in iMessage group chats, or anyone still using a pre-2017 iPhone. That said, there could be advantages to being able to view an unedited message.

It’s a similar mess to how emoji reactions (aka “tapbacks”) have historically been handled when sent between iOS and Android. But here a solution has gradually emerged to the problem, with Google updating its messaging app to correctly parse tapbacks sent from iOS, and Apple planning a similar update with iOS 16. Here’s hoping a similar solution eventually emerges for editable iMessages.

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