For the iOS 16 public release in the fall, Apple has seeded the iOS 16 beta 4 to developers and beta testers. The new beta update changes the functionality of the upcoming “unsend” and “edit” features on iMessage.
As announced at the WWDC 2022, users will be able to edit or unsend a text message after they are sent through iMessage within 15 minutes. However, victims of domestic abuse, harassment, and assault raised concerns about perpetrators misusing the new iMessage features to tamper with evidence.
In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, shared with 9to5Mac, Attorney Michelle Simpson Teugel wrote:
As an advocate for survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault, this new feature – in particular the significant amount of time allowed to edit or delete messages – will expose victims of violence to additional harassment and bullying as the perpetrator will take advantage of these
tools to send harmful content knowing they can destroy evidence of their misconduct.
iOS 16 beta 4 added an edit log and reduced the unsend time to 2 minutes from 15 minutes to iMessage
Without publically addressing the concerns of victims of abuse, Apple has changed the functionality of iMessage’s new features to prevent their misuse.
In iOS 16 beta 4, users can only edit a message up to five times within 15 minutes and the edit option disappears from the long-press menu after users reach their five edits limit. Furthermore, each edit is logged on the app and the edits are visible to both, the sender and receiver, on iMessage.
Previously, users could edit a message as many times as they wanted within 15 minutes and the app did not maintain an edits log.
The second change to iMessage on iOS 16 beta 4 is the reduction in time to “unsend” a message. Users will have two minutes to unsend a message, instead of 15 minutes.
The iOS 16 beta 4 has also introduced ‘Live Activities’ API to developers to them add the live-updates in real-time capability to their apps.