How to Delete a Chat in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a popular collaboration platform that allows users to communicate via chat, audio/video calls, file sharing, and more. Over time, the chat section can become cluttered with irrelevant or outdated conversations. Fortunately, Microsoft Teams provides options to delete chats to keep your workspace organized.

Delete an Entire Chat

As of late 2022, Microsoft Teams allows users to delete an entire one-on-one, group, or meeting chat from their chat list. Here are the steps:

  1. In the Microsoft Teams desktop or web app, right-click the chat you want to delete.
  2. Select Delete chat.
  3. Confirm that you want to delete the chat.

The full conversation, including all messages and chat history, will be removed from your chat list. Other participants will still retain the chat.

On mobile, tap and hold the chat, select More options > Delete, and confirm deletion.

Delete Individual Messages

If you only want to remove specific messages you’ve sent, without deleting the whole chat:

  1. Hover over the message and click the More options (⋮) icon.
  2. Select Delete.

The message will be removed from everyone’s view of the conversation.

On mobile, tap and hold your sent message, then tap Delete.

Hide Chats

Hiding a chat in Microsoft Teams removes it from your chat list, while still retaining the content. To hide a chat:

  • Desktop: Right-click the chat and select Hide.
  • Mobile: Swipe left on the chat, tap More, and select Hide.

To view hidden chats on desktop, click More options next to Chats and choose Hidden. On mobile, go to More options > Manage chats > Hidden.

Retention Policies

As a Microsoft 365 admin, you can create retention policies to automatically delete Microsoft Teams chats and channel messages after a defined period:

  • Navigate to Admin centers > Microsoft 365 compliance > Retention to create a policy.
  • Select locations like Teams chats and Teams channel messages.
  • Set a retention period, like Delete after 30 days.

Enabling this policy will delete conversations older than the retention period across your organization.

Why Can’t I Delete Messages?

There are a few reasons why you may be unable to delete Microsoft Teams chats:

  • Your organization has disabled the Allow users to delete chats setting in messaging policy.
  • You don’t have permission to delete messages in that chat (e.g. in a large channel).
  • You are trying to delete someone else’s message instead of your own.
  • You closed the Microsoft Teams app before the delete action could complete.

If chat deletion is being restricted, you can ask your Microsoft 365 admin to investigate further or submit a request.

Key Takeaways

  • Delete entire chats to remove them from your Teams workspace. Other participants will still have the conversation.
  • Delete individual messages to remove them from view for all chat members.
  • Hide chats to keep conversations out of sight but still accessible if needed.
  • Retention policies enable automatic organization-wide deletion of old chats.
  • Deletion issues typically arise from policy restrictions or permission limitations.

Deleting irrelevant or outdated conversations in Microsoft Teams is an easy way to stay organized. With the proper permissions, you can remove chats and messages while maintaining compliance through retention policies.