How to delete or hide recent chat history in Microsoft Teams?

Here’s a note that we got from a reader:

Hello! The information technology department at my employer has started to roll out the Teams application to improve communication through the last few months in which we started to work from home. Long story short, started to use it and it’s quite cool, but i guess i have two questions: First question: It seems to me that i cannot remove messages in Teams, is it even possible to permanently delete messages in the Chats section? And the second is: how can i un-send or recall messages i sent to others in a group chat?

Hey Thanks for your questions, we are also working quite a bit with Teams, and it’s great we can answer some questions here.

In our answer i would assume you use the Desktop version on Windows, although the process is not majorly different for Teams on macOS, Android or iOS.

Let’s get started with your first query.

Remove chat messages and conversations

You are able to delete messages that you have sent to other people as part of a Microsoft Teams conversation.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go ahead and open Microsoft Teams.
  2. In the left hands side App Bar, hit Chats.
  3. Now go ahead and navigate to the relevant conversation. Note that you can use the command bar at the top of your page to easily find your chat conversation.
  4. Find the message that you want to remove.
  5. When you place your mouse and hover on the message you’ll notice the … button. Go ahead and hit it.
  6. Then select Delete.
  1. Teams will display the following message: This message has been deleted.
  2. Next to that, you’ll notice the Undo link, which you can use to easily recall your message deletion (which i believe answers your second query).

Remove a message from a Channel

There might be cases in which you might have posted a message in a group chat, and you might want to simply remove it from the channel Posts tab.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. From the left hand side App Bar, navigate to the Teams tab.
  2. Select your Team and proceed to the Channel.
  3. Go to the Posts tab
  4. Hover to your Message.
  5. Hit the More Options … (3-dots) button.
  6. Select Delete.
  7. That’s it.

Note: For each deleted message in your Channel Posts tab, Microsoft Teams will display a This message has been deleted message. So other people won’t see your original message but will know you have removed a thread in the conversation.

Deleting a complete chat History permanently

This is a frequently asked question. At this point, no delete option is available for chats, so you can’t remove a complete thread from the chats tab, but only individual messages within a conversation. We’ll update this post as soon as soon as this apparently very much needed feature will be incorporated to the product (September 2020 – As per a thread at UserVoice, Microsoft Development team confirmed that this is in their roadmap.) You can however hide a conversation thread, read on for details.

Hiding a Teams conversation

In the previous section we learnt that it is not possible to get rid of messages permanently. That said,you can hide a private chat thread from your list of conversations. That’s also pretty straightforward:

  1. Open your Chats section.
  2. Navigate to the relevant conversation you might want to hide.
  3. No hit the More Options 3-dot ellipses button (…).
  4. Now go ahead and pick the Hide option.
  1. You conversation will disappear from the list of visible chats.

Note: Reverting the process we just covered is also quite simple, just proceed as explained earlier in this section, and select the UnHide command instead.

Delete Teams Chat Files

Another frequently asked question is how to actually remove files that were already mistakenly shared through Teams.

  • Open your Teams app and navigate to your Teams / Channel.
  • On your left hand side menu bar, hit on Files. Hint: If you don’t see the Files option, you might need to hit on the Mode Added apps menu (…) and then hit Files.
  • Now hit on One Drive.
  • Then hit the Microsoft Teams Chat files folder.
  • Now, go ahead and find the file /s you would like to delete, then check the radio button next to the file and hit Delete.
  • People trying to access your file will receive a notification that the file was deleted and removed from Teams.