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Microsoft Teams chat history: workaround to clear any Teams chat


Yes, you can delete a history in Microsoft Teams chat — it only requires a small “workaround”. Because so far, as at time of writing this guide, there is still no separate function for quickly and easily emptying an entire Microsoft Teams chat history.

However, since this is one of the requests made most frequently by the user community, we hope the Microsoft developers will actually provide a corresponding deletion option soon, as we need better communications for remote working. Until then, you only have one of the following options: Everyone deletes their own chat messages until the entire chat is empty, hide the chat, or delete the relevant channel or tab including the respective chat. If necessary, the entire team can be deleted without further ado. This is how it all works.

Why isn’t there a dedicated function to delete Microsoft Teams chat?

The problem is simple: there are two types of “types” of Microsoft Teams chat. On the one hand, all teams users can chat freely among themselves at any time (one-to-one chats or in group chats). These chats are independent of a formed team, so there is no team boss (= team owner).

Instead, every Microsoft Teams chat partner is the owner and boss of their own chat content. And then there are the chat conversations, which are held in a channel or tab within the framework of a put together team. The respective team owner has further deletion rights here. (Note: Instead of deleting a chat post, the author can edit it at any time in order to reformulate the content and thus “defuse” it.)

One-to-one and group Microsoft Teams chat

A user alone cannot empty or delete the entire chat for his / her other communication partner. Perhaps the other person wants or has to document or keep his contributions. Conclusion: Everyone can only delete what he or she wrote himself. And that is possible at any time. If the entire chat history is to be deleted, each chat partner simply has to delete all of their own contributions, then the entire history is finally emptied.

Team, channel and tab Microsoft Teams chat

Here the authorizations are clearly distributed. There is a team owner who can optionally also equip other users with extended permissions (for example for deleting content). Here, too, every participant has the “sovereign right” over their own chat contributions and can subsequently delete or edit them at any time. If all of them do that, the entire chat history is emptied.

Since there is still no function to delete the entire Microsoft Teams chat history at once, the only alternative is to delete either the channel, the tab or the entire team in which the questionable or particularly sensitive chat history took place, such as commercial-in-confidence matters, personal or HR discussion, or the team has been involved in online gaming activities such as or sensitive teambuilding. In this case, however, you should back up all important files from the element to be deleted beforehand and save them elsewhere.

How to delete your own messages from a Microsoft Teams chat

No matter in which area of ​​the team you are chatting, deleting your own contribution always works the same way. To do this, simply move your mouse over the post, then click on the right next to it on the three dots for → More options and select the → Delete option . The message is removed immediately and the message “This message has been deleted” will then be displayed for the other participants at this point in the chat history (as is usual in messenger programs).

How to hide a Microsoft Teams chat

If you want to delete an entire chat history at once, you have the option of having each participant delete his / her own contributions. Otherwise, you can simply hide the chat with one click. This will then no longer appear prominently in your team view, but it is not actually deleted. To do this, simply move over the name of the chat in question in the menu item → Chat , then click on the three dots behind it → Select further options and → Hide chat.

Delete a teams channel including the channel Microsoft Teams chat

Deleting an entire Teams channel also deletes the entire conversation and chat history in it. Deleting a channel is basically only possible for the “owners” (initiators) of this team. The team owner can, however, grant individual members the authorization to delete channels and thus turn them into “channel owners” or channel managers. As a user with the appropriate authorization, proceed as follows:

  • First click on the → Teams button on the left to open the overview of all your teams.
  • Then click on the corresponding channel with the right mouse button or click on the three dots behind the channel name → More options and then select → Delete channel in the selection menu.

The channel is then “softly deleted”. This means that IT can still undo the deletion within 21 days and only then will the channel be permanently deleted. Deleting a Teams channel is supported on the desktop, web, and Android apps, but not on the iOS Teams app. The latter have to switch to the desktop or web app.

Note: Each team automatically contains the “General” channel. You are the only one who cannot remove this channel, all the others can.

Important: If you delete a channel, a tab or an entire team, you should first copy all important files stored in it to another location so that you do not lose the data.

How to delete a tab including its Microsoft Teams chat history

Instead of an entire channel, you can delete just a single tab. This will then be completely deleted, including all the data it contains and the chat history. Deletion can also only be carried out by the team owner or authorized users. To do this, open the relevant channel and then click to the right of the tab to be deleted on the small arrow for the context menu and select the → Remove tab .

Each tab also has its own chat in Microsoft Teams so that you can have a focused, context-related conversation on this topic. When you remove a tab, it also clears its chat history.

Uninstall Teams or delete an entire team

You can choose to delete (uninstall) Microsoft Teams from your desktop computer or, as a team owner, delete an entire team. If you uninstall the desktop app (and then empty the trash), you will delete all traces on this computer, for example if the company device is to be transferred to a new owner. When you delete an entire team, it is permanently deleted for all members, including all channels, chats, files and Microsoft 365 groups.

Uninstall Microsoft Teams

Close the app, click the Windows button in the lower left corner, then click → Settings → Apps and look for → Microsoft Teams . Left click and then select → Uninstall . Confirm that changes can be made to your device and then select the → Teams Machine-Wide Installer and confirm again with → Uninstall .

Delete an entire team

As a team owner, open the overview of all your teams. Right-click on the team to be deleted or click on the three dots after the team name for → More options and then select → Delete team . Check the box next to → I know that everything will be deleted and confirm by clicking on → Delete team .

Of course, entire teams can also be deleted if they are no longer needed. This will then be completely deleted including all chats it contains. Important files should therefore be saved elsewhere beforehand.
Of course, entire teams can also be deleted if they are no longer needed. This will then be completely deleted including all chats it contains. Important files should therefore be saved elsewhere beforehand.

Deactivating the meeting chat in teams saves deleting!

As the initiator of a teams meeting (video conference), you can decide whether you want to activate or deactivate the meeting chat for all participants. There is a difference between the participant chat (meeting chat), which is freely visible to all, and the option of asking questions to the speaker via an input field as a participant in a teams live event (= audience questions in the Q&A area ). Both can be set separately from each other.

You can deactivate the meeting chat either in advance of a meeting that has already been scheduled or during an ongoing video conference.

  • For a scheduled meeting, simply click on the three dots → More options after the meeting name and the time , then on → Meeting options and finally set to → Deactivated for “Allow meeting chat”.
  • During a video conference, you must first click on the three points above for → More options , then on → Meeting options and under “Allow meeting chat” also set to → Deactivated .

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