The short answer is yes, you can permanently delete LinkedIn messages that you have sent or received. However, LinkedIn does not make this an obvious or straightforward process. Here’s what you need to know about deleting LinkedIn messages for good.
Why Would You Want to Delete LinkedIn Messages?
There are a few key reasons why you may want to permanently erase messages from your LinkedIn inbox and sent folder:
- Privacy – You may have sent sensitive information or had private conversations that you don’t want stored on LinkedIn’s servers anymore.
- Security – Messages with confidential business or financial details could be a risk if your account is ever compromised.
- Cleanliness – Getting rid of old messages can help keep your inbox organized and decluttered.
- Regret – We’ve all sent messages we wish we could take back. Permanently deleting them removes the evidence.
- Control – You may want to selectively delete certain messages but keep others.
The ability to permanently erase messages gives you more control over your communications and privacy on the platform.
LinkedIn’s Message Deletion Policies
LinkedIn’s messaging system is designed more for archiving conversations than deleting them. Here are some key limitations to be aware of:
- You can only delete messages you have sent or received individually. You cannot mass delete conversations.
- Deleting a message removes it from your inbox or sent folder, but your recipient may still have a copy in their inbox.
- Once a message is deleted, there is no undo option or trash folder to recover it from.
- LinkedIn reserves the right to retain message data for legal compliance or security purposes, even after you delete it.
So while you can remove messages from your own view, they may still exist in LinkedIn’s databases and other users’ inboxes. Proceed with caution.
How to Permanently Delete LinkedIn Messages
Ready to clean up your LinkedIn inbox? Here are step-by-step instructions to permanently erase messages:
- Open the LinkedIn mobile app or navigate to the LinkedIn website and log into your account.
- Go to the Messages section. This can be found in the menu bar at the top of the homepage.
- Open the message thread you want to delete from. You can only delete messages one thread at a time.
- Tap and hold an individual message bubble you want to delete.
- Select the trash can icon that pops up.
- Confirm that you want to delete the message when prompted.
- The message will be immediately removed from your view with no undo option.
- Repeat steps 4-6 to delete all desired messages from a thread.
If accessing LinkedIn on a desktop, the process is very similar:
- Click on the Messages icon in the top navigation bar.
- Open the conversation containing the message(s) you want to delete.
- Hover your mouse over a message and click on the ‘More’ button that appears.
- Select ‘Delete’ from the dropdown menu.
- Confirm that you want to delete when prompted.
- The message will vanish instantly with no recovery options.
- Repeat for any other messages in the thread you wish to erase.
Other Ways to Remove Conversations
If you want to clear an entire conversation thread from your inbox, you have two options:
- Delete the whole thread – On mobile, swipe left on the thread and choose delete. On desktop, select the conversation, click ‘More’ and choose ‘Delete’. This will remove the full back-and-forth from your inbox. However, the other participant will still have a copy.
- Block a user – Pull up the conversation, tap on the user’s name/profile picture, and select ‘Block’. This will erase the thread from your inbox and prevent that user from messaging you again. They may still have the conversation in their messages.
Does Deleting LinkedIn Messages Also Remove Notifications?
When you permanently erase LinkedIn messages from your inbox, any notifications related to those messages will also be dismissed. For example:
- Deleting an unread message takes away the unread notification dot.
- Removing messages removes them from the notifications tab.
- Future notifications will no longer reference deleted messages.
So deleting messages helps clean up notifications too. However, the other person may still get notifications about messages you’ve deleted.
Can You Recover a Deleted LinkedIn Message?
Unfortunately, there is no way to retrieve a deleted LinkedIn message once you have confirmed removing it from your inbox or sent folder. Some things to keep in mind:
- Deleted messages are permanently erased with no undo option.
- LinkedIn does not have a trash folder that stores removed messages.
- You cannot recover deleted messages through LinkedIn.
- Your only option is to ask the sender to resend a copy of the message.
So be absolutely certain you want to delete a message before confirms. And if you change your mind, your only recourse is to request the sender resend it.
Does Reporting a LinkedIn Message Also Delete It?
No, reporting a concerning or harassing LinkedIn message will not delete that message from your inbox. Here is what happens when you report a message:
- The message remains visible in your inbox, but is flagged as reported.
- LinkedIn reviews the reported message to determine if it violates community guidelines.
- You may get contacted by LinkedIn to confirm details about the concerning message.
- LinkedIn may restrict the sender’s account features or remove them from the platform.
- You can still delete reported messages manually from your inbox.
So while reporting alerts LinkedIn of issues, it does not delete the message. You have to manually remove reported messages after the fact.
Can LinkedIn Admins or Employees View Deleted Messages?
According to LinkedIn’s user agreement and privacy policies, LinkedIn employees and admin have access to user account information and messages for operational purposes. Specifically:
- LinkedIn engineers may access stored message data for software testing and troubleshooting.
- LinkedIn’s legal and security teams can review messages relevant to investigations.
- LinkedIn may retain deleted message data to comply with legal orders.
- Admins may access limited message data to provide customer support.
So even after you delete a message, LinkedIn employees may still be able to access copies of it when necessary. But this access is restricted based on privacy and compliance standards.
Best Practices for Deleting LinkedIn Messages
To recap, here are some top tips for cleaning up your LinkedIn inbox by deleting messages:
- Be selective – Don’t delete conversations in bulk. Carefully choose which specific messages to remove.
- Double check – Make absolutely certain you want to permanently delete a message before confirming.
- Follow up – If you want the sender to delete their copy of a message, politely request they do so after you delete yours.
- Act fast – Delete sensitive chats as soon as possible instead of letting them linger.
- Remove threads – Blocking users or deleting full threads can help declutter your inbox.
The Takeaway on Deleting LinkedIn Messages
While LinkedIn makes permanently erasing messages a bit tricky, it is possible. Be aware that remnants of deleted chats may continue to live on in LinkedIn’s systems or other users’ accounts even after you remove them from your inbox. Therefore, exercise caution when sending sensitive messages in the first place. But when you need to do cleanup, follow the steps to remove messages properly one at a time. With some work, you can clear out your inbox while maintaining control over your privacy.