We’ve all had moments where we’ve immediately regretted sending an email. If you’re in that position and you’re using Gmail, you have a small window in which to undo your mistake, but you only have a few seconds to do it. Here’s how.
While these instructions are for Gmail users, you can also undo sent emails on Outlook, too. Outlook gives you a 30-second window to recall a sent email, so you’ll have to be quick.
Setting the Email Cancellation Period in Gmail
By default, Gmail only gives you a 5-second window in which to recall an email after you hit the send button. If this is too short, you’ll need to extend the length of time Gmail will keep emails pending before it sends them. (After which, emails cannot be retrieved.)
Unfortunately, you can’t change the length of this cancellation period in the Gmail app. You’ll need to do this in the Settings menu of Gmail on the web using your Windows 10 PC or Mac.
You can do this by opening Gmail in your web browser of choice and clicking the “Settings Gear” icon in the top-right corner above your email list.
From here, click the “Settings” option.
In the “General” tab of your Gmail settings, you’ll see an option for “Undo Send” with a default 5-second cancellation period. You can change this to periods of 10, 20, and 30 seconds from the drop-down menu.
Once you’ve changed the cancellation period, press the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the menu.
The cancellation period you’ve selected will be applied to your Google account as a whole, so it will apply to emails you send in Gmail on the web as well as for emails sent in the Gmail app on iPhone, iPad, or Android devices.
How to Recall an Email in Gmail on the Web
If you want to recall an email send in Gmail, you’ll need to do so within the cancellation period that applies to your account. This period begins from the moment you press the “Send” button.
To recall an email, press the “Undo” button that appears in the “Message Sent” pop-up, visible in the bottom-left corner of the Gmail window on the web.
This is your only chance to recall the email—if you miss it, or you click the “X” button to close the pop-up, you won’t be able to recall it.
Once the cancellation period has passed, the “Undo” button will disappear and the email will be sent to the recipient’s mail server, where it can no longer be recalled.
How to Recall an Email in Gmail on Mobile Devices
The process for recalling an email is similar when using the Gmail app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. Once you send an email in Google’s email client, a black pop-up box will appear at the bottom of your screen, telling you that the email has been sent.
The “Undo” button will appear on the right-hand side of this pop-up. If you want to stop the email from sending, tap this button within the cancellation period.
Pressing “Undo” will recall the email, returning you to the “Compose” draft screen in the app. You can then make changes to your email, save it as a draft, or delete it entirely.