Troubleshooting iMessage Won’t Delete

Troubleshooting iMessage Won't Delete

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in situations where we send a message that we later regret or want to remove from our conversation history. However, there may be instances where the message fails to delete, regardless of our attempts. This can be particularly embarrassing or problematic, especially if the message is inappropriate or sensitive. In such cases, it is essential to take appropriate measures to ensure that the message is deleted from the conversation thread. Dealing with iMessage won’t delete can be frustrating, but don’t worry – you can take a few troubleshooting steps to fix the issue.

Understanding Why i Message Won’t Delete

Understanding Why iMessage Won't Delete

Before jumping into the troubleshooting, it helps to understand why you might be unable to delete an iMessage in the first place. Here are some common reasons:

  • Syncing Issues: If your device isn’t syncing correctly with Apple’s servers, it may fail to process delete requests. Try manually turning iMessage off and back on again to re-trigger a sync.
  • Corrupted Thread: An entire message thread can become corrupted, preventing changes. Resetting the conversation may be required.
  • Backup Restore: Restoring your phone from an iCloud or iTunes backup can sometimes bring back deleted messages. Make sure backups are deleted or up to date.
  • Family Sharing: On Family Sharing plans, message deletions sync across all devices, leading to deleted messages reappearing if a sync fails. Check devices linked via Family Sharing.
  • Unsupported Characters: Using an unsupported emoji or character in a message can cause sync issues that prevent deletion. Try deleting conversations containing unsupported chars.
  • Jailbroken Devices: Jailbroken iPhones and iPads sometimes have iMessage sync problems, leading to undeletable messages. Update your device’s software to resolve this.
  • Apple Server Issues: Rarely, issues with Apple’s servers can prevent iMessage deletions from syncing correctly. Check Apple’s system status page to see if servers are experiencing problems.

Now that you know what’s causing messages to stick around, here are some step-by-step troubleshooting guides to finally eliminate those pesky texts!

Force iMessage to Sync

One of the most common issues preventing iMessage deletions is a syncing problem. Your deletions won’t be processed if your phone hasn’t adequately synced with Apple’s servers. Here’s how to force your iMessage to sync and hopefully resolve deletion issues:

On iPhone/iPad:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on Messages.
  2. Turn off iMessage by sliding the toggle to the left (gray).
  3. Wait 10-15 seconds, then turn iMessage back on by sliding the toggle to the right (green).
  4. iMessage will reload and resync. Try deleting your message again – hopefully, it will disappear for good!

On Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on iMessage.
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Enable Messages”.
  4. Wait 15 seconds or so, then re-check the box.
  5. iMessage will reactivate and sync. Attempt your message deletion again now.

Essentially, toggling iMessage off and back on again forces your device to reconnect to Apple’s servers, triggering a refresh of your iMessages. This should hopefully resolve any lingering sync issues and prevent deletions.

Reset Corrupted iMessage Threads.

If you cannot delete messages from a specific conversation, the thread itself may have become corrupted. Resetting the problematic conversation forces it to be rebuilt from scratch and often clears up issues.

On iPhone/iPad:

  1. Open the conversation containing the message(s) you want to delete.
  2. Touch and hold the blue App Store icon next to the conversation name.
  3. Tap “Delete Chat” in the pop-up menu.
  4. Confirm deleting the chat when prompted.
  5. The conversation will be obliterated. Start a new thread with the same contact, then see if you can properly delete messages in this new conversation.

On Mac:

  1. Launch the Messages app and find the problematic conversation.
  2. Right-click the conversation and choose Delete Chat from the menu.
  3. Click Delete Chat again to confirm.
  4. The chat will vanish. Start a new one with the same recipient – your deletion issues may be resolved now!

By wiping the glitched conversation record and starting from scratch, you essentially “reset” the broken thread. Luckily, this will clear up whatever corruption or sync failure prevented messages from being erased as expected.

Update or Restore iCloud & iTunes Backups

If you recently restored your iPhone or iPad from an iCloud or iTunes backup, it’s possible that deleted iMessages came back after being archived in the backup copy. To avoid this:

  • You can update to the latest iCloud backup, which will not contain deleted messages, or delete old iCloud backups completely.
  • In iTunes, make sure your backup is up to date, then see if you can delete the messages before doing a new backup to overwrite the old one.
  • As a last resort, set up your device as new rather than restoring any backups during setup. Just be aware you’ll lose your settings and other data.

The key is to make sure any backup you restore from doesn’t contain the messages you want to remove. Updating backups or doing clean device setups can help resolve this issue.

Check Family Sharing Devices

On Family Sharing plans, iMessage deletions are synced automatically across all connected devices. So, if you delete a message on your iPhone, it also disappears from your partner’s iPad,

This becomes problematic if the deletion doesn’t sync appropriately on one shared device. The message will magically reappear on your phone again!

To prevent this, check all devices linked by Family Sharing after deleting a troublesome message. Make sure it disappears everywhere. If not, delete it manually on the other device(s) too.

Also, confirm no new devices were recently added, as that can temporarily disrupt syncing. After ensuring consistency across shared devices, deletions should now work as expected.

Avoid Unsupported Characters

Certain iMessages don’t fully support emojis and text characters. Trying to delete messages containing unsupported Unicode characters can cause sync failures, leading to messages sticking around when they should have vanished.

If you can’t delete a specific message, check if it contains any wonky emoji or text characters. Try pasting the message content into a site like to see if any chars are flagged as unsupported.

To fix this, delete the entire conversation containing the unsupported chars. Then restart a fresh chat – your deletion issues should disappear along with the glitched conversation.

Going forward, try to avoid using non-standard emojis and text in iMessages. This prevents sync problems down the road.

Update Jailbroken iPhones & iPads

Due to modified system files and settings, Jailbroken iOS devices are prone to iMessage syncing issues. Attempting to delete messages often fails as a result.

The fix is simple – update your jailbroken iPhone or iPad to the latest stock OS version via iTunes. This removes the jailbreak and restores proper iMessage functioning. Deletions should usually start working again.

Be warned that updating will wipe your device and remove any unsaved data. However, it’s an easy fix for jailbreak-related iMessage problems.

Check Apple System Server Status

In rare cases, connection issues with Apple’s servers can briefly cause widespread iMessage failures. Check Apple’s system status page at if your messages won’t be deleted.

If iCloud or Messages shows degraded performance or an outage, that’s likely why your deletions aren’t syncing. Wait for Apple to resolve the server disruption, then try again.

Please toggle iMessage off/on again after the servers are back up to force a resync. Any deletion issues due to server outages should be intermittent in the future.

When to Contact Apple Support

When to Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps but your iMessages still refuse to vanish on command, it may be time to contact Apple Support:

  • Your account likely requires deeper investigation if you consistently have iMessage sync problems across multiple conversations.
  • Specific error messages when attempting to delete messages may indicate an underlying account issue.
  • Server outages lasting more than 1-2 days may need engineering support.
  • Unresolved Family Sharing sync problems could require higher-level troubleshooting.
  • Severe iOS bugs preventing deletions after updating may need attention.

While the guides above can help you address most iMessage deletion problems, Apple’s technicians have more tools for trickier situations. Don’t hesitate to contact them for ongoing iMessage sync failures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do my deleted iMessages keep coming back?

A: The most likely culprit is an iMessage sync failure, corrupted conversation thread, backup restore issue, or problem across Family Sharing devices. Follow the troubleshooting guide above.

Q: I permanently deleted a conversation thread, but the messages reappeared. Why?

A: Even after deleting an entire conversation thread, iMessages may reappear if the deletion didn’t correctly sync across your devices connected via iCloud and Family Sharing. Check all your linked devices and delete the messages everywhere to prevent them from returning.

Q: How can I stop my deleted iMessages from reappearing when I restore backups?

A: Ensure your iCloud and iTunes backups are entirely up to date and do not contain any messages you want deleted. To be sure, you can also delete old backup copies completely before restoring your device. Setting up as a new device is a guaranteed way to avoid restoring deleted texts.

Q: I can’t delete messages with an emoji – how do I fix this?

A: Certain emojis and text characters aren’t appropriately supported in iMessage. Try deleting the entire conversation containing the emoji, then starting a fresh chat thread. Avoid using unsupported emojis going forward.

Q: Will resetting my iPhone network settings help fix deletion issues?

A: RResetting network settings alone is unlikely to resolve iMessage deletion problems. Focus instead on updating iOS, toggling iMessage off and on, removing/re-adding Apple ID, and other sync-related fixes covered above.

Q: How do I delete texts across all my Family Sharing devices simultaneously?

A: Open each iMessage conversation on every shared device and manually delete the texts everywhere. Remove devices from Family Sharing, delete the messages, and then re-add the devices. This forces a fresh sync.

Conclusion: Resolve iMessage Deletion Problems for Good

While having embarrassing or regrettable iMessages stick around indefinitely can be endlessly annoying, a few targeted troubleshooting techniques can typically get deletions working again. Force quitting and restarting the app, updating iOS, removing and re-adding your Apple ID, turning iMessage off and on, resetting conversations, and checking Family Sharing devices will resolve most situations where texts refuse to vanish. And for any other persistent issues, Apple’s support team is there to help investigate and fix your iMessage woes. With a few simple fixes, you can finally purge those digital learn Why Am I Not Getting Snapchat Notifications on iPhone? messages for good and no longer cringe whenever you re-read a conversation.

Author: Niru Taylor

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