How to Recall an Email in Gmail: Easy Guide
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How to Recall an Email in Gmail: Easy Guide

Did you ever send an email riddled with typos only to realize it was a beat too late?

That sinking feeling of hitting “send” and immediately regretting it is a universal experience. But don’t fret. There’s a secret weapon hiding in your arsenal: Undo Send.

This magical feature lets you snatch back an email within a short window, saving you from potential embarrassment and awkward conversations.

Let’s show you how to recall an email in Gmail inbox.

Guide on How to Recall an Email in Gmail

Before you send:

Set a send cancellation period: By default, Undo Send isn’t enabled. To activate it and choose your preferred timeframe for un-sending emails:

Go to Gmail on your computer.

Click on the Settings cog in the top right corner and select “See all settings.”

settings option in Gmail for recalling an email

Under the drop down menu,  “General” tab, scroll down to “Undo Send.”

Choose your desired cancellation period (5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds) from the dropdown menu.

choosing a desired cancellation period for recalling an email

Click “Save Changes” at the bottom.

After you send:

  • Act fast! You only have a few seconds to undo an email after sending it.
  • Look for the “Undo” option:

On Desktop: A brief notification will appear at the bottom left corner saying “Message sent” with an “Undo” or “View message” option. Click “Undo” to retract the email.

Gmail notification bar to undo sent email in desktop

On Mobile (Android & iOS): After sending, you’ll see a “Sent” message with an “Undo” button. Tap “Undo” to take back the email.

Gmail notification bar to undo sent email in mobile

Important to Remember:

  • Undo Send only works within the timeframe you set (5-30 seconds). Once that window closes, you won’t be able to recall the email.
  • The recipient may still see the email if they downloaded it or have very quick reflexes! For guaranteed privacy, it’s always best to contact the recipient directly if you need to retract sensitive information.

Scenarios and Solutions for When You Need to Recall an Email in Gmail

We’ve all been there: you hit send on an email on the Gmail app only to realize a moment later there’s a glaring typo, you forgot to attach that crucial document, or you accidentally replied instead of replying all.

Thankfully, The Undo Send feature isn’t your only weapon in these situations. Here are some common email mishaps and how to address them, even if the Undo Send window has closed:

Typos and Grammatical Errors:

While Undo Send can help with catching these in the nick of time, sometimes they slip through. Suppose you discover a mistake after the recipient has received the email.

In that case, the best course of action is to send a quick follow-up email to the recipient’s inbox. Politely acknowledging the error and providing the corrected version.

Missing Attachments:

Forgot to attach that important presentation? Don’t fret! Simply reply to the original email with the missing attachment in tow. You can also explain the oversight in your reply to add context.

Accidental Reply vs. Reply All:

Hitting reply-all on a sensitive email meant for one recipient can be a heart-stopper. Unfortunately, Undo Send won’t help here.

The best approach is to send a quick follow-up email apologizing for the mistake and clarifying the intended recipient.

You can also mention the confidential nature of the original email, but be aware there’s no guarantee everyone will disregard it.

Sending to the Wrong Recipient:

We’ve all sent an email to the wrong address at some point. If you catch it before the recipient opens it, you can potentially use Undo Send. Otherwise, act swiftly.

Compose a new email to the correct recipient explaining the error and politely requesting they disregard the original email sent to the wrong address. If the email contains sensitive information, consider contacting the mistaken recipient directly to inform them.

Pro-Tips & Best Practices to Avoid Hitting Undo Send

While Undo Send is a handy feature, it’s ideal to craft emails that don’t require a recall in the first place. Here are some pro-tips to help you avoid email mistakes:

  • Proofread like a pro: Before hitting send, take a moment to double-check your email for typos, grammatical errors, clarity, and the correct recipient’s email address. Consider using a grammar checking tool for an extra layer of catching errors.
  • Double-check attachments: Ensure all necessary documents are attached before sending. A quick scan of the email can save you from the scramble of a missing attachment.
  • Think before you reply: Take a beat before hitting reply, especially on sensitive or fast-paced threads. Consider if “reply all” is truly necessary to avoid unintended recipients.
  • Master the art of drafts: Don’t be afraid to compose your email in draft form first. This allows you to refine your message, gather attachments, and proofread before sending.
  • Schedule important emails: Avoid sending impulsive emails. Tools like Gmail scheduling allow you to compose an email in advance and set it to send at a designated time, giving you a chance to catch any errors before it goes out.
  • Embrace the pause: When in doubt, take a pause! Reread your email, step away for a few minutes, and come back with fresh eyes before hitting send on the wrong message.

With these practices, you’ll send clear, concise, and error-free emails, minimizing the need for Undo Send and keeping your inbox zen.

Gmail Recall FAQs

How do I recall a message in Gmail that’s already sent?

Unfortunately, you can’t recall a Gmail email after it’s been sent unless you enabled “Undo Send” beforehand. Gmail users can use this feature to unsend within a set time limit (5-30 seconds).

Can I recall an email in Gmail after 1 hour?

No, Gmail’s undo send feature only works within the timeframe you set (maximum 30 seconds). After that window closes, you cannot recall Gmail emails.

Can I Unsend an email in Gmail after 30 minutes?

No, the maximum time limit for undo send function is 30 seconds. You cannot unsend after that.

Why can’t I recall emails in Gmail?

By default, recall emails isn’t enabled in your Gmail account. You need to enable “Undo Send” in your settings menu (gear icon) before you can use it.

Can you recall an email on your mobile phone as well as your desktop? 

Yes, Undo Send works on both Gmail mobile app and desktop. After sending a Gmail message, look for the “Undo” option that appears briefly.

What happens when you recall an email in Gmail? 

If you use Undo Send within the time limit, Gmail attempts to prevent the recipient from receiving your sent email. 

However, there’s no guarantee they won’t see it if they already opened it.

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