Stop message before it's sent

When you send an iMessage to the wrong person, it can be one of the most embarrassing things ever. This is especially the case with iMessages that you intend for your boyfriend/girlfriend, but end up going to co-workers, friends, or family instead.

I’ve had plenty of situations where an iMessage I intended for a specific person ended up going to someone else all because I wasn’t paying enough attention, and I’ll be the first to tell you that when you learn the hard way even just once, you’ll become motivated to learn how to stop an iMessage dead in its tracks before it gets to the wrong person ever again.

In this tutorial, we’ll help keep you from standing in similar shoes and take you through the steps necessary to cancel the sending of an iMessage before it even reaches Apple’s servers, where it would then be pushed to all of the user’s iOS devices and Macs. 

How to cancel an iMessage once it starts sending

The first thing to realize is when you send a message to a person using iMessage, there’s no getting it back once it hits Apple’s servers. This is the reason you have to intercept the message before Apple’s servers receive it. This also means you have to act fast before the blue progress bar reaches the right side of the screen after sending the message.

The trick here is to kill the Internet connection as quickly as possible before the message can successfully reach Apple’s servers, and because iPhones have both Wi-Fi and cellular data capabilities available for getting data in and out, your best bet is to get Airplane Mode enabled as quickly as possible after sending the message.

Method 1: Non-jailbroken iOS Device

In some cases, you can pop open Control Center and tap on the Airplane Mode button pretty quickly. This means swiping down the keyboard you were just typing on and opening Control Center to tap on the Airplane Mode button, sometimes in just a second, or a fraction of a second.

Turn Airplane Mode off to stop message

The only downside to this method is that you’re really chancing it because it can take more time to perform these steps than it may take for the iMessage to send with today’s high-speed Internet connections.

To perform this method:

Step 1: While the iMessage is still sending, swipe down to dismiss the keyboard and then launch Control Center.

Step 2: Quickly tap on Airplane Mode before the blue progress bar reaches the right side of the screen.

Step 3: Dismiss the message telling you about how Airplane Mode needs to be turned off to send messages.

Step 4: A red “Not Delivered” indicator should appear.

Prevent iMessage from sending message

Step 5: Remove the message from the conversation thread by tapping and holding on the message bubble and choosing More > Delete.

Step 6: Re-enable Wi-Fi and cellular data by turning Airplane Mode back on.

If you see the red “Not Delivered” indicator, then you’ve just saved yourself a whole lot of embarrassment, because this means your Internet connection failed when you toggled Airplane Mode and that your iMessage was unable to reach Apple’s servers. Even better is that your iOS device will not try to automatically re-send the message, but you would have to do so manually, so just delete the message instead and you’re golden.

Method 2: Jailbroken iOS Device

Jailbroken devices have another advantage: Activator. With Activator installed from Cydia, you can assign any gesture to enabling Airplane Mode, and that’s what we did for this tutorial since we’ve only seldom been able to accomplish this task with the former method of trying to beat the clock to open Control Center.

Activator gestures can be far more time-efficient than stock iOS gestures, so for this instance, we opted to assign a three-finger tap gesture to toggling Airplane Mode on or off:

activator-toggle-airplane-mode

With this method, you’ll follow these steps, which apart from Activator, are essentially the same as the previous method:

Step 1: Install Activator from Cydia if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Assign your favorite gesture to toggling Airplane Mode on or off.

Step 3: While an iMessage is sending, invoke your Activator gesture before the blue progress bar reaches the right side of the screen.

Step 4: Dismiss the message telling you about how Airplane Mode needs to be turned off to send messages.

Step 5: A red “Not Delivered” indicator should appear.

Step 6: Remove the message from the conversation thread by tapping and holding on the message bubble and choosing More > Delete.

Step 7: Re-enable Wi-Fi and cellular data by turning Airplane Mode back off.

Edit: another tweak that can help significantly with making sure you don’t miss the mark is SendDelay, which will actually give you more time before the progress bar hits the right side of your screen. The delay will give you more time to react, and hence you’ll have better luck at turning off Airplane Mode in a timely fashion.

Now that you’ve successfully intercepted an iMessage before it could reach Apple’s servers, and removed it from your conversation, you can rest assured that the person you accidentally fired the message off to won’t receive it.

If you’ve ever been in a similar situation, has this method worked for you? Share in the comments below.