Apple’s iOS 16 Update Lets You Mark Texts Unread

We’ve dreamed of this day for so long. Apple announced yesterday that their latest operating system release for iPhone and iPad, iOS 16, will feature several new additions that seem custom-tailored to moms everywhere. Coming this fall, you’ll soon be able to mark texts as unread, along with the ability to edit texts and unsend messages for up to 15 minutes. 

We repeat: You can mark texts as unread. 

It’s not an overstatement to say that this feature alone is a true game-changer. 

Let me set the scene: You quick-glance at a text that just came in while simultaneously stirring the pasta sauce and re-reminding your kids in the next room to set the table. It’s a mad rush then through dinner/bath/bedtime, and by the time you finally collapse on the couch (if you didn’t already pass out in your toddler’s bed), you’ve long forgotten all about that text. Will you remember to respond in the a.m.? We know how this episode ends. 

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But now, having the ability to read that text and then mark it as unread and craft a reply on your own time? Pure bliss. True freedom. A real release from the pressure to respond in the moment, a respite from the energy it takes to store a nagging reminder in your brain to get back to it later.

Just knowing that you’ll see that little blue dot again marks a (slight) lessening of the maternal mental load. 

I can’t believe it’s taken this long. My life will now be measured in two periods: “Before Unread” and “After Unread.” Until now, I was forced to forward myself a text message I needed to find time to respond to later, or I’d screenshot the message and just pray that I’d see it in my camera roll at some point in the not-too-distant future. I’m generally an organized person—but it was messy.

The ability to edit messages or unsend them doesn’t go unappreciated, either. You’ll have the option to edit or rescind that text for a full 15 minutes after hitting send, so yes, you can now seamlessly add one more item to that grocery list you sent your partner, amend that missive to your mother-in-law, undo your preschooler’s emoji exploration or even walk back that 5 a.m. anxiety spiral you sent to the group chat. And in great news for my dad and my dad only: You can even restore deleted texts for 30 days.

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According to Wired, new macOS versions usually arrive in September, so we’re looking at having this in our hands by early fall. Apple announced that the features are part of the macOS 13, Ventura, which is designed for MacBooks and Mac computers, but the new messaging features will also roll out in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, so they’ll be available for your iPhone and iPad, too. 

But there’s one catch: The unread function is only available if you have read-receipts turned on. Hey, it’s a start. Baby steps!