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How to recall an email in Gmail

Discover how to recall email in Gmail and effectively manage the recall emails in Gmail process with this straightforward guide.

First published

22.01.2024

Last edited

06.02.2024

Read time

6 minutes


    By Ilija

    An economist by degree, a marketing manager at heart. Seeing my website on the first page of Google is what excites me most. I write mostly about email productivity, email management and AI.

    Remember that time your fingers hit "Send" just as you realized you'd addressed your boss as "BFF"? Or when you accidentally attached embarrassing vacation photos instead of the presentation? We've all been there, victims of the dreaded email sent too soon.

    But fear not emailers! Gmail has a secret weapon against these keyboard catastrophes: the "Undo Send" feature. It's like a time machine for your inbox, letting you snatch back wrong emails before they cause virtual mayhem.

    Imagine never again having to cringe at typos in your professional emails. No more frantic apologies for unintentionally offensive jokes. "Undo Send" is your shield against sending emails with "regret" as the middle name. It's like a safety net for your social life and a lifesaver for your career.

    Keep tuned to learn how to recall an email in Gmail.

    recall an email in Gmail

    Understanding Gmail's Undo Send feature

    This feature doesn't technically recall an email in the traditional sense, as the email isn't pulled back from the recipient's inbox. Instead, Undo Send delays the actual sending of the email, providing users with a chance to cancel it before it ever reaches the other party.

    Once you click 'Send' on an email, Undo Send keeps the email from being dispatched for a duration of time set by the user. The default delay is five seconds, but it can be adjusted to provide up to 30 seconds of grace period.

    undo send in Gmail

    During this time frame, a floating bar appears at the lower left corner of the Gmail interface, with options to "Undo" or "View message." Clicking on "Undo" will stop the email from being sent and reopen it in the Gmail compose window for editing. The main things to consider when recalling an email in Gmail:

    • Typos and factual errors: Ensure your email communication is polished and accurate, eliminating any last-minute embarrassment.
    • Missing attachments: Securely add vital documents before your message reaches the recipient.
    • Unprofessional tone: Reconsider your wording and ensure your message conveys the intended professionalism.

    Note: this period is the only chance users have to 'recall' the message. After the selected time elapses, the email is sent, and the opportunity to undo the action is lost.

    How to enable Undo Send in Gmail

    Recalling an email in Gmail is enabled by default with a standard 5-second cancellation period. However, users have the flexibility to adjust this period up to 30 seconds to provide a larger window for recalling sent emails. The following steps will guide you through the process of enabling and modifying the Undo Send feature in Gmail:

    1. Open Gmail: Navigate to the Gmail website on your preferred browser and log into your account.

    2. Access Settings: Click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the interface to open the Quick settings sidebar. You will then need to click on "See all settings" to access the full settings menu.

    3. Locate Undo Send: In the "General" tab of the settings menu, scroll down to find the "Undo Send" section. This is where you can customize the cancellation period.

    4. Adjust Cancellation Period: Click on the drop-down menu next to "Send cancellation period" and choose the desired time frame from the available options (5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds).

    5. Save Changes: After you've selected your preferred cancellation period, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Save Changes" to finalize the update.

    Undo Send in Gmail dekstop

    Source: Google.com

    Once these changes are saved, the next time you send an email in Gmail, a floating "Undo" option will appear at the bottom left corner of your screen. You'll have the duration of your chosen cancellation period to click this button and effectively recall the email.

    Limitations:

    • Act Fast: Remember, you only have the chosen delay window to act. Once the timer runs out, the email is on its way and beyond Undo Send's reach.
    • Not Foolproof: Undo Send won't work if the recipient has already opened the email or if your internet connection drops during the grace period.
    • Internal Delays: Large attachments or slow connections may further shorten the effective Undo Send window.

    When Undo Send isn't an option:

    • Apologize quickly: Acknowledge your mistake promptly and professionally to minimize the impact.
    • Clarify Your Intent: If the email contained factual errors, offer a follow-up message with corrections.
    • Learn from the Mistake: Analyze the situation and implement preventive measures to avoid similar mishaps in the future.

    How to recall an email on Gmail mobile

    To unsend an email in Gmail on a mobile device like an iPhone or Android, the process is straightforward:

    • After sending an email, a small notification labeled "Sent" appears at the bottom of your screen. Alongside this notification, you'll see an "Undo" button.
    • By tapping "Undo," the email sending process is stopped. You will then be redirected to a screen where you can edit the message, allowing you to make any necessary changes before resending it or discarding it altogether.

    If you like to know how to recall an email in Apple Mail, check out our detailed guide.

    Recall email in Gmail mobile

    Source: Google.com

    Best practices for avoiding email mistakes in Gmail

    Sending an email you wish you could take back? Let's prevent that! Follow these simple tips:

    • Proofread like a pro: Typos, missing attachments, wrong facts? Give your email a second glance before hitting send.
    • Recipients, double-check!: Avoid awkward mix-ups. Always verify you're emailing the right people.
    • Schedule a breather: Use Gmail's Send Later option or Mailbutler's Smart Send Later feature to give yourself minutes (or hours!) to catch errors or rethink your message.
    • Drafts are your friends: Important emails? Save them as drafts, come back later with fresh eyes, and avoid sending regrets.
    • One last "Are you sure?": Make a habit of checking content, attachments, and recipients one final time before hitting send.
    • Cool down before composing: Feeling fired up? Write the email, but wait before sending it. A calmer you will thank you later.

    Bonus Tip: Use Gmail's "Stars" feature to mark important emails before sending. This provides a visual reminder to be extra cautious while composing and sending crucial messages.

    No more email drama! With these tips, you'll be sending confident, clear messages every time. If you want also you can check how experts are recalling emails.

    Unsend an email in Gmail FAQs

    Can you recall an email in Gmail after 1 hour?

    Unfortunately, Gmail's "Undo Send" feature only allows you to recall an email within a small window (5-30 seconds) after sending it. There's no way to retrieve an email once that window closes, regardless of how much time has passed.

    Here's what you can do depending on the situation:

    • Contact the recipient directly: Explain the situation and apologize for any inconvenience caused. If the email contained errors, offer a follow-up message with corrections.
    • Limit the reach: If possible, inform any copied or forwarded recipients about the error or your revised intentions.
    • Document the error: Keep a record of your actions and communication to avoid similar situations in the future.

    Is the Gmail Undo Send feature available in Outlook?

    Yes, the "Undo Send" feature or recalling emails in Outlook, is similar to what Gmail offers and is available in Microsoft Outlook. This feature allows users to recall a sent email within a certain time frame. However, its effectiveness can vary based on several factors, such as whether the recipient is using the same email server, whether they have already opened the email, and the configurations of their email rules and filters that might redirect incoming emails.

    How do I delete an already sent email in Gmail?

    Deleting an already sent email is also not possible directly in Gmail. However, you can:

    • Request the recipient to delete the email: If you have a good relationship with the recipient, you can politely ask them to delete the email.
    • Filter the email to a separate label: You can create a Gmail label specifically for unwanted emails and filter the problematic messages there. This won't actually delete it from your inbox, but it will keep it out of sight.

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