You sent an email by mistake? Don’t worry, Gmail’s got you covered. Under certain conditions, you can unsend an email using the recall feature of your Gmail account. Here’s how to do it.
We’ve all been there. You open Gmail in a new tab. Write an email. Press send… And instantly regret it. There are a few reasons why you may wish you hadn’t sent that email:
- Maybe you forgot to attach a file.
- Maybe you made a big spelling mistake.
- Maybe you forgot to CC someone important.
- Maybe you sent your email to the wrong recipient.
- Or maybe you wrote in anger and now regret what you said.
Whatever the reason is, this quick guide will show you how to recall an email already sent in gmail, whether it is from an iPhone, Mac, Android or PC.
Let’s dive right in.
How to recall an email in Gmail on desktop?
Gmail’s “Undo Send” feature can be a real lifesaver. Follow these 3 easy steps to recall emails on a Mac or a PC:
Step 1: Go to your Gmail account’s settings
Open Gmail in your browser. Log into your account. And go to the settings, in the top-right corner of your screen. From there, click on See all settings.
Step 2: Set a send cancellation period for your emails
Once you’re in the General tab of your Gmail settings, you can customize the send cancellation period of your emails using Gmail’s “Undo Send” feature. This option allows you to recall an email sent within 5 to 30 seconds.
By default, Gmail’s send cancellation period is set to 5 seconds. Meaning that, once you hit the Send button, you will only have a 5-second window to recall your email.
If this feels too short, you can use the drop-down menu in the Gmail settings to extend the cancellation period from 5 seconds to 10, 20 or even 30 seconds.
Once you’ve picked a time frame, don’t forget to scroll down and click Save Changes.
The cancellation period you’ve just set will apply to ALL the emails you send, whether you’re sending emails from desktop or from the Gmail mobile app.
Step 3: Use the “Undo Send” feature to recall your emails
The next time you write an email and press “Send”, you will notice a small pop-up in the bottom-left corner of your screen. To recall the email you just sent, simply click on the Undo button.
How does this work exactly? Depending on the send cancellation period you selected earlier, Gmail will keep your emails pending for 5 to 30 seconds. From there, you have 2 options:
- If you click “Undo” before the send cancellation period is over, your email will be recalled. Gmail will then reopen that email as a draft. After that, you can edit your email before resending it. Or simply discard it.
- If you close the “Message sent” pop-up or if you wait for too long, Gmail will send your email. Once your email has been sent, you will no longer be able to retrieve it.
How to recall an email in Gmail on iPhone?
If you’re sending emails from your iPhone using the Gmail app, you can recall an email with just a tap.
After pressing “Send”, a pop-up will appear at the bottom of your screen. Simply tap the “Undo” button to prevent Gmail from sending that email.
The “Undo send” option is available by default on an iPhone.
How to recall an email in Gmail on Android?
If you’re sending emails from your phone using the Gmail app, you can follow a similar process to recall your emails.
After pressing “Send”, a snackbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. Simply tap the “Undo” button to prevent Gmail from sending that email.
However, please note that you can’t change the duration of the send cancellation period directly from the Gmail app.
How to turn on the “Confirm before sending” option on Android?
The “Confirm before sending” feature we mentioned earlier is not always enable on Android devices.
If you want to enable that feature, open the Gmail app on your phone. And go to your account’s settings.
On the next screen, select General settings. Then scroll all the way down and click on Confirm before sending.
You should see a blue checkmark once the feature has been activated. This won’t help you recall an old email in Gmail. But it might prevent you from sending unwanted emails in the future.
What should you do if you can’t recall your email?
As you can see, the “Undo Send” feature is far from perfect. The time window is very short. Gmail won’t allow you to recall an email that was sent a week, a day or even an hour ago.
Once the send cancellation period is over, there is no going back. So what should you do if you’ve sent an email that can no longer be retrieved? And how can you reduce the risk of sending emails you wish you hadn’t sent?
Here are a few things that you can try to do:
- Type your emails in a Google doc and copy-paste them in your Gmail account when you’re done. That way you won’t end up pressing “Send” accidentally.
- Double-check your emails before you send them. This may take a little more time, but it will greatly reduce your risk of making a mistake.
- If you’re using a mail merge (like Mailmeteor) to send emails to several recipients at a time, make sure to preview your emails before sending them. You can also send a test email to check if everything looks the way you want it to.
- For extra safety, you can also enable the Confirm before sending feature, in which case, Gmail will ask for confirmation every time you send a new email. This will prevent you from sending emails by accident.
If despite all these precautions you end up sending an email you wish you hadn’t sent, own your mistake. Apologize to your recipient or send a follow-up email to explain what happened. Under certain circumstances, adding a bit of humor can also go a long way :)
Lastly, try not to freak out. We all make mistakes. You are not a machine (and neither is your recipient). So take a deep breath… And get back to work!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to recall an email in Gmail after 1 hour?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to recall an email in Gmail after 1 hour. The only thing you can do is to use the “Undo Send” feature of your Gmail account within maximum 30 seconds of sending an email to recall it. If you miss that time frame, you won’t be able to cancel your email.
Can you delete an email already sent?
You can delete the emails you’ve sent from your Gmail inbox at any given time. To do that, simply select the email you want to delete and click on the Bin icon.
However, this will not change the fact that your email has already been sent. Even after you’ve erased it, that email will remain visible in your recipients’ inbox.
How to unsend an email in Gmail after a day?
As explained earlier, if you sent your email 1 day or 1 week ago, you’re out of luck. Gmail’s recall feature only allows you to recall an email within 5 to 30 seconds of sending it, depending on your settings. if your email was sent longer ago, you can no longer recall it.
This guide was written by Paul Anthonioz, content editor at Mailmeteor. Mailmeteor is a simple & privacy-focused emailing software. Trusted by millions of users worldwide, it is often considered as the best tool send newsletters with Gmail. Give us a try and let us know what you think!