WhatsApp users across the globe breathed a collective sigh of relief last October when the app introduced a way of unsending messages that had already been dispatched – calling back missives from the ether, as long as you retrieved it within seven minutes or so.
Now all of us with a tendency to send messages we later regret have an even bigger safety net, because WhatsApp is rolling out the unsend window to a full hour. To be more precise, it’s being extended to exactly 4,096 seconds, a little over 1 hour 8 minutes.
That’s according to some code digging by WABetaInfo, based on the latest beta version of the app for iOS.
We’re still waiting for official confirmation from WhatsApp, but it looks like if you’ve said something you’d rather not have said, or posted an embarrassing confession in the wrong group that, you’re about to get more time to recall it.
The caveats that have always applied to this feature still apply: short of brainwashing someone, the effectiveness of the feature is limited if your friends have already opened up the message. You can scrub it from the record, but you really need to act within an hour, and before anyone has read what you’ve written.
What’s more, if you do delete a message, the other people in the conversation see a “message deleted” alert – so they know that you’ve said something you’ve regretted, and may ask you some awkward questions about it.
Even with the limitations, having longer to change your mind about a message has to be a good move for users. We’ll have to wait and see if and when the new 4,096-second limit rolls out across all of the stable WhatsApp clients.