You can’t erase iMessages or SMS/MMS from someone else’s iPhone or iPad—so please be careful what you send—but you can delete every record from your iPhone or iPad. So if you don’t want to be reminded of embarrassing or hurtful messages, or want to get rid of storage-consuming images and videos, the Messages app lets you delete them or schedule them to expire automatically.
Why Delete iMessage History?
First of all the most secure way to ensure your conversations stay private on your devices is to only use apps that allow for end-to-end encryption, which prevents anyone (including the service provider) from eavesdropping on anything you say. Apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and iMessage now use end-to-end encryption to protect your data.
Second, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. Even with end-to-end encryption in place, anyone who takes control of your phone can read everything that you have sent or received. This is where learning how to delete all messages on Mac or iPhone daily will help. Let’s go through a very thorough checklist to keep your iMessage history free of any unwelcome correspondence.
How to Enable iMessage Across Devices
As you know, regular text messages and iMessages share the same Messages app on your iPhone. One of the benefits of using iMessage is not only having reliable end-to-end encryption but also being able to use it across devices—for example, on your Mac.
To turn on iMessage on your Mac:
- Open the Applications folder (⌘ + Shift + A) and launch the Messages app
- Go to Preferences (⌘ +,) and switch to the iMessage tab
- Check “Enable this account” and “Enable Messages in iCloud”
- Click Sync Now
Now your iMessages will be synchronized on your Mac and iPhone, so you can read and respond to any text from any device. Also, you can check the boxes in the “You can be reached for messages at” menu if you want to let people text you only by recognizing your email.
If you’re wondering how to toggle off iMessage on Mac at any time, just uncheck the “Enable Messages in iCloud” option.
How to Delete Messages on iPhone and iPad
Again, you can’t delete texts from someone else’s iPhone or iPad, but you can delete them from yours.
- Open the Messages app on the Home screen.
- Tap a conversation containing the message you want to erase.
- Click and hold the message that you want to erase.
- Tap More on the pop-up menu.
- Tap the circle next to the message you want to delete or tap Delete All if you want to get rid of all the messages in the conversation.
- Tap on the delete button (looks like a trash can).
- Tap Delete Message in the pop-up.
Now you can continue to chat without the risk of revealing your secrets whether someone grabs or looks at your iPhone or iPad.
How to Delete Multiple Images on an iPhone or iPad
If you want to erase several images, you don’t need to tap your way through any iMessage or SMS. You should blast them all out at once, almost like it’s a Black Friday sale, and every message has to go! Clean up, champ! Clean it up!
- Launch the Messages app for your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the chat that you’d like to clear the images.
- Click the details button at the top right corner of your screen. This is the “i” in a circle.
- Tap and hold one of the photos you’d like to erase under the Attachments section.
- Tap More in the pop-up menu.
- Pick all the pictures and attachments that you wish to erase.
- Tap the Delete button in the lower right corner when you have all of them picked.
- To validate the deletion, press Delete Messages in the popup menu.
Deleting images and videos are also a great way to save space on your iPhone or iPad. You can reclaim gigs of space!
How to Set Messages to Delete After a Period of Time on iPhone and iPad
iMessage allows you to delete messages automatically after a defined amount of time. That way, you can regain space without having to remember to delete anything manually on your own.
- Open your iPhone or iPad Settings app.
- Tap on Messages.
- Tap Keep Messages in the Message History section.
- Tap 1 year or 30 days, whatever you want.
Tap Delete in the popup menu to confirm that you want iOS to delete messages older than the stated time limit. You can’t reverse this action.
How to Change Expiration Settings for Audio and Video Messages on iPhone and iPad
Audio and video messages take up as much room as possible, so iMessage lets you set even quicker auto-delete times for them. Don’t worry, though the timer doesn’t start when you get a message. It starts when you listen to them or see them.
- Open your iPhone or iPad Settings app.
- Tap Messages.
- Tap Expire in the Audio Messages and/or Video Messages section.
- Choose Never or After 2 Minutes.
If you constantly find yourself scavenging for storage space on your iPhone or iPad, it’s probably a smart idea to schedule it to expire after two minutes.