Apple May Soon Let You Edit Already Sent iMessages

There is no need to discuss the importance of messaging apps on our devices. With functionalities being pretty straight forward, many developers are looking for ways to stand out in a market owned by the likes of Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

Last month, Apple submitted a new patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in which it presents a series of features that could get added to the messenger app. The patent application is called Devices, Methods and Graphical User Interfaces for Messaging, and it discusses the numerous drawbacks and limitations current messaging applications have. These issues include the limited ability to easily acknowledge messages, edit previously sent messages and express what a user is trying to communicate, display private messages, synchronize viewing of content between users, etc.

Image: USPTO

In the patent filing, Apple also highlights the limitations in terms of ability to integrate with the camera, combine search and sharing, integrate interactive applications, stickers, make payments, interact with avatars, translate languages, and grouping of messages.

Editing a previously sent message is a feature already available on apps like WeChat and Slack. However, this generally works within a centralized environment as the app does not really transmit a message to another user over a cellular network. In this case, all users are logged into a central server whereby an edit can be applied easily and seen by the reader.

When it comes to text messaging and editing what’s been sent over a network, things get tricky. The message needs to be retrieved, edited and sent back while also retaining a version of the unedited one. WhatsApp allows users to delete messages for everyone but doesn’t edit an already sent message.

Apple’s iMessage works on iOS, iPadOS and macOS and the company may be considering moving beyond its own ecosystem and designing something for Android and Windows 10.

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