How to Delete Message Conversations in Google Hangouts Chat

Key Takeaways:

  • You can easily delete entire conversations or individual messages in Google Hangouts Chat
  • Deleting a conversation removes your copy of the chat history, but doesn’t delete it for other participants
  • Hangouts Chat is being replaced by Google Chat, which has similar message deletion functionality

As an experienced user of Google’s messaging and collaboration tools, I’ve found that managing your chat history is an important part of staying organized and maintaining privacy. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to delete conversations and individual messages in Google Hangouts Chat, as well as cover some key things to keep in mind.

Deleting an Entire Conversation

If you want to remove an entire chat conversation from your Hangouts history, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Hangouts Chat on your computer
  2. Find the conversation you want to delete in the list on the left
  3. Hover over the conversation and click the three dots icon that appears
  4. Select “Delete conversation” from the menu
  5. Click “Delete” to confirm

It’s important to note that deleting a conversation only removes your personal copy of the chat history. The conversation will still appear for any other participants, unless they also choose to delete it on their end.[4]

Also keep in mind that you can only delete one-on-one conversations this way. For group chats with multiple people, your only option is to leave the conversation entirely.[4]

Deleting Individual Messages

In some cases, you may just want to delete a single message that you sent, rather than the whole conversation. Here’s how:

  1. Open the conversation containing the message in Hangouts Chat
  2. Hover over the message you want to delete
  3. Click the three dots icon that appears in the top-right of the message
  4. Select “Delete” from the menu
  5. Confirm by clicking “Delete” again

When you delete a single message, it is removed for everyone in the conversation, not just you. However, other participants may have already seen the message before you deleted it.[1]

It’s also good to know that there are some situations where you can’t delete a message:[1]

  • Messages sent in group conversations with people outside your organization
  • Messages that are too old (typically more than 24 hours)

Editing Messages Instead of Deleting

As an alternative to deleting a message entirely, Hangouts Chat also gives you the option to edit messages you’ve sent. This can be useful if you made a typo or want to clarify something. To edit a message:[1]

  1. Hover over the message and click the pencil icon
  2. Make your changes to the message text
  3. Click the checkmark icon to save your edit

One thing to note is that editing a message doesn’t remove the original version. In the conversation, it will indicate that the message was edited, and other participants can still view the edit history.[1]

Hangouts Chat to Google Chat Transition

In 2020, Google announced that Hangouts Chat will be replaced by a new messaging platform called Google Chat.[19] For the most part, Google Chat works very similarly to Hangouts when it comes to deleting conversations and messages:

  • You can delete an entire one-on-one conversation by clicking the three dots next to the contact’s name and selecting “Delete conversation”[18]
  • To delete a single message, hover over it, click the three dots, and choose “Delete”[18]

The key difference is that in Google Chat, when you delete a message, it is removed for all participants immediately.[18] There’s no 24-hour time limit like in Hangouts Chat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I recover conversations or messages after deleting them?

  • No, once you delete a Hangouts Chat conversation or message, it is permanently removed from your account and cannot be recovered.[1][4]

Does deleting a conversation remove it for everyone?

  • No, deleting a conversation only removes your copy of the chat history. It will still be visible to other participants unless they also delete it.[4]

Can I delete group conversations?

  • No, you cannot delete the history of a group chat, only one-on-one conversations. If you want to remove yourself from a group conversation, you’ll need to leave the group instead.[4]

Is it possible to unsend a message?

  • No, Hangouts Chat does not have an unsend feature. If you delete a message, it is removed from the conversation, but participants may have already seen it. Editing may be a better option if you just need to fix an error.[1]


Deleting conversations and messages can help you declutter your Hangouts Chat history and maintain your privacy. Just remember that in most cases, deleting only removes the content on your end, not for other people in the chat.

As Google transitions users from Hangouts to Google Chat, the process for managing your chat history will remain largely the same. The main improvement is that deleted messages will be removed instantly for everyone.

Hopefully this guide has given you a clear understanding of how to delete your Hangouts Chat messages and conversations. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to keep your chats under control and communicate with confidence.