How iPhones and iPads can tell the difference between what’s in your pocket and what’s on an island

Tech tip: What really happens when you unsend a text on your iPhone

You’d think having hundreds of texts in your contacts would be plenty. Nope, when you actually unsend a text, it’s not so easy. Sure, it’s as if that text never existed.

A team from the University of Texas decided to find out how this works, so they set up an experiment to see just how quickly your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch can tell the difference between what’s right there in your pocket and really only exists on an island.

They created a group of 12 people with iPhones and asked each of them to send a text message. A total of 16 messages were sent. Only one of the recipients received the same message four times. The experiment was repeated with an iPod touch and iPad and was repeated twice with one smartphone and two iPods: iPhone 5, iPhone 4, iPad 2 and iPod Touch 4.

The results were interesting to say the least. “The number of times that exactly one recipient got a message four weeks later was exactly four times more likely when the message was sent by the iPhone as compared to the other three devices,” said Eric Horvath, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UT and the lead researcher of the paper, in a news release.

That’s why, when you are doing a lot of unsending and have the opportunity to copy-paste a text, it’s best to try to type directly on the phone.

In case you were wondering, the results also mean that you’re less likely to receive a text from someone else than sending it yourself. In fact, the odds of getting a message from two or more people is 0.12. And, what’s really crazy is that one person only received 14 texts in total, despite being in the group.

Now, that’s not to say that if you’re a particularly good sender, you’re 100% guaranteed to end up with a reply. But for the most part, it’s best to be careful with the sender list.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Copyright 2012.

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