How To: Cancel a message from sending on iPhone

If you never needed the option to stop a message from sending, you are truly a lucky person (or at least, so far). There’s a bunch of scenarios in which such a feature could prove incredibly useful. For example, you made a mistake, such as sending the message to the wrong person, poor choice of words and even one or more embarrassing autocorrect fails.

Another situation which commonly occurs in large cities at peak hours, is trying to send a larger message (which for example includes a photo), while the cellular network is congested. In this case, your message will hang on ‘Sending…’ status for God knows how long and at some point you might get tired and prefer to cancel it than wait any longer.

The trick is simple, so here’s how you can cancel a message from sending on your iPhone:

1. Open any conversation in the Messages app and type a SMS or iMessage.

2. Tap on the Send button and notice the ‘Sending…’ status shown in the top ribbon. The progress bar indicates how the process gets close to completion. Before that happens you only have a few seconds at your disposal to cancel the message.

Turning on Airplane Mode while sending message

3. You can stop the message from being sent by quickly swiping up from the bottom of the screen to access Control Center, then enable Airplane Mode. If you were fast enough, after a few seconds you will be notified the message failed to send, and it will also show up as ‘Not Delivered’ in the conversation. Now you can safely turn off Airplane Mode, the message

iPhone - Message not delivered

Tip: As you swipe up to reveal Control Center with the Messages app still open, you might tap on the keyboard by accident and waste precious time, which will likely end in you failing to cancel the message.

To prevent that, your safest bet is to close the Messages app before trying to open Control Center.

If your iPhone is jailbroken, that’s another story entirely. There are some useful tweaks you can access from Cydia under the BigBoss repository which make cancelling messages incredibly easy. After you hit Send in your Messages app, SendDelay will replace it with a Stop button. More importantly, this free tweak adds a 1.5 second delay to sending the message, by default. However you can increase it up to 5 seconds and make things even simpler.

DeLe ($2.99) is another useful tweak that can also delay iMessages and SMS messages for a short duration (which is customizable) showing the remaining time in the top ribbon. It also displays a pop-up box above the text field containing options like cut, copy and paste, but the one of interest in this particular case is the delete option. Tapping on the related trashcan icon after you just pressed the Send button (and before the ‘Sending…’ timer reaches 0), will erase the message so it won’t get sent anymore.

Have you figured out other handy ways of cancelling messages on your iPhone after you’ve already hit the Send button? Share them in the comments section below!

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