How to Delete Messages Now that iMessage Doesn’t Have X to Delete Message in Big Sur

How to More Easily Delete Messages in iMessage without the X in Big Sur
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Frustrated that iMessage on the Mac doesn’t have the X to delete a message thread any more? Us too. Starting with Big Sur iMessage no longer has the X on which you used to be able to click to easily delete a message conversation. In fact, it’s pretty darned frustrating, and why Apple would remove that handy (and, let’s face it, very small and lightweight) feature is beyond us. However, there you have it.

Instead of just being able to click on the X now, the default way to delete a given message thread is to right-click on the message, which pops up a menu giving you the options to pin the conversation, open the conversation in a separate window, or delete the conversation. If you select ‘delete’, then it opens another window asking you to confirm. So what used to take just two steps (clicking on the X and then confirming) now takes three steps.

Alternatively you can click on ‘File’ from the menu bar, which also gives you the “delete conversation” option, then clicking on the delete option gives you the confirmation window, so still 3 steps. It’s frustrating as all get-out, and we know that we are not alone in wondering just why Apple chose to make their users jump through hoops to delete a message, rather than leaving in place the simple method of clicking on the X.

All of that is the bad news. The good news is that if you are on a Macbook laptop, or have a trackpad otherwise connected to your Mac, there is a simpler way to delete messages, although still not as simple as just clicking on an X. Here’s that method.

How to More Easily Delete Messages in iMessage without the X in Big Sur and Possibly Other OS Versions

Select the message that you want to delete. In our example it’s a two-factor authentication (“2FA”) message from Paypal.

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imessage message from paypal

Now, on your trackpad swipe left with two fingers. This will reveal two icons, a bell with a line through it to silence notifications for that sender, and… tah dah! A trash can. Kind of like the Tinder left-swipe, but for messages.

How to Delete Messages Now that iMessage Doesn't Have X to Delete Message in Big Sur


Click on the trash can, which will bring up the confirmation dialogue box:

confirmation message for deleting message in imessage apple mac

Confirm the deletion, and you’re done!

Yes, this is still more steps than it should take to delete a message, in fact it’s the same number of steps as right-clicking and taking it from there, but it is, at least, a simpler way.

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