iMessages Are No Longer Immutable: The Ability to Edit and Unsend iMessages Provided by Apple iOS 16 Spurs New E-Discovery Questions

On September 16th, Apple released iOS 16, which now allows users to edit or unsend iMessages. A sender can edit an iMessage up to five times within fifteen minutes after the message is sent. A sender can also unsend an iMessage within two minutes after the message is sent. Recipients of such messages receive an alert that the iMessage was unsent or edited, but do not see the specific changes.

These new features only apply to iMessages (and not other forms of electronic communications, like SMS messages). Also, these new features only work when the iMessages are exchanged on Apple devices (and not with Android or other devices), and these features only function completely when these Apple devices are all using Apple iOS 16.

The ability to edit and unsent iMessages creates new questions about how such electronic communications will be preserved, collected, processed, and produced in electronic discovery. This blog will provide further posts regarding considerations related to the preservation and discovery of iMessages as more information regarding these added functionalities becomes available.

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