How to forward (or delete) part of a text message conversation on an iPhone or iPad

Updated October 5th, 2020.

Every so often, for one reason or another you want to forward (or delete) part of a text message conversation from your iPhone. Not the entire conversation, just part of it. Maybe just one or two messages (maybe pictures). Here’s how you do it. (Here’s how you delete part of a Messages conversation on a Mac.)

Note: if you want to delete an entire conversation you simply swipe left on the conversation itself and then tap “Delete.” If you just want to delete every text message that is more than a year old (maybe you’re a football coach being investigated by the NCAA), go to Settings/Messages and set it to “Keep Messages” for 1 year.

Deleting part of a text message conversation

To delete a single message from a text message conversation on an iPhone or iPad, open the conversation so you’re looking at the messages. It will look something like this:

Representative text message conversation
Representative text message conversation

Tap and hold on the message you want to delete. You’ll see a few things pop up, including “More…” at the bottom. Tap “More…”

Text message showing special menu
Text message on an iPhone, after tapping and holding.

Now you see the conversation with everything shifted to the right, leaving space for a little circle to the left of each message. The circle next to the message you tapped on will be checked.

One message checked for deleting

Notice the trash can icon at the bottom left. Tap that to delete the message. Tap a confirming “Delete Message” button and you’re all set.

Confirm delete...
Confirm Delete

Note: after tapping “More…” you’re able to tap and put a check mark next to as many messages as you wish, and delete them all at once. See below.

Multiple messages selected

Caution: do not tap the “Delete All” button at the top left unless you really, really mean it.

If you have Messages in iCloud turned on, any deleting you do on one device will sync to your other devices, which makes things nice.

Forwarding part of a text message

Forwarding part of a text message works exactly the same way, right up to tapping the trash can icon. Instead of doing that, tap the “Forward” button at the bottom right, opposite the trash can. It looks like a curvy arrow pointing to the right. Tap that to forward the selected messages to someone else. You’ll choose who to forward the messages to in the box that pops up after you tap the Forward button.

Forwarding a text message
Forwarding a text message

Conclusion

I’ve found the ability to delete part of a text message, and to forward part of a text message, extremely powerful and handy. Give it a try and see for yourself.


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