How to Recall an Email in Gmail (3 Simple Steps)

Gmail is an email service offered by Google that has gradually become one of the essential parts of our working lives. It allows you to share documents, send messages, and other important data without any limit for most users. From critical business documents to school homework, you can send anything using Gmail.

However, there are some times when you click send on an email and regret it instantly. Maybe you sent an email to the wrong email address or forgot to attach a file to your email. You may wish to recall your email to fix the mistakes in these instances.

But, can you unsend an email in Gmail?

Yes, you can. Gmail provides a feature that allows you to recall a sent email within 30 seconds for those users. In this article, we have a detailed guide for you on how to recall an email in Gmail.

How to Recall a Message in Gmail

Unfortunately, by default, the recall email Gmail function isn’t active to a useable degree. So, to recall Gmail messages, you have to activate this option in the settings. Here are ways you can do this on desktop and mobile.

Undo Send on Gmail Desktop

Here are the steps you need to follow to activate the Undo Send option in your Gmail web client:

Settings page

Step 1: In your main Gmail screen:

  1. Click on the gear icon at the top right side of the screen. You will see a sidebar show up.
  2. Click on See all settings here. This will take you to the settings page that contains all the Gmail settings.
Undo Send option

Step 2:

  1. Click on the General to go to that tab.
  2. Scroll down to find the Undo Send. Clicking on the box will show a drop-down menu that allows you to choose a duration. This includes five, ten, twenty, and thirty-second intervals. Choose the option that best suits you.
Save changes

Step 3: Once you’ve chosen, scroll down and click Save Changes.

Undo option is now available after Message is sent

Now, whenever you press send on an email, a confirmation box will show up at the screen’s bottom-left with two buttons. Clicking on Undo allows you to stop the message from sending, while the View message will enable you to see the email you sent. Note that clicking on the View message won’t prevent the email from sending.

Clicking on Undo in the selected time frame means that the recipient won’t know that you sent the email. It can be a lifesaver if you send a sensitive email to the wrong person.

Undo Send on Gmail Mobile

The process to unsend an email in Gmail mobile is similar to the one we discussed for the web and desktop versions. It’s often on by default when on your mobile device. When you send an email using the Gmail mobile application, a pop-up box appears at the bottom of the screen telling you that the email has been successfully sent.

Undo email on Gmail mobile

If you wish to recall the email, click on Undo on the right side of that pop-up. This button should take you back to the email compose screen, where you can make changes to the email or discard it altogether.

Why the Recalling Function Isn’t Ideal

This feature in Gmail doesn’t really recall your email. Instead, it just adds a delay timer which allows you to undo your email if you realize you made a mistake at the very last second. If you don’t click on Undo during this time, the email is sent, and there is no way to get it back.

If you back out from the email screen while this pop-up is showing, the option goes away completely, leaving you no choice to recall your email.

This method is not the perfect solution for retracting emails, which is why we recommend being vigilant when typing your emails, proofreading them, and ensuring you’re sending them to the correct email address. Yet, It’s a bit hard when sending emails automatically in Gmail.

Alternatives to the Gmail Recall Message Feature (A Better Retrieve Email Gmail Option)

By now, we’ve established that this feature is extremely limited in its use, and not everyone will utilize it simply because you can’t recover emails after 30 seconds. Sometimes you want to send something confidential or something that you just want to give limited access to the recipient.

There’s no way to do this in the Gmail web or mobile client. However, you can achieve this using Google Docs.

Share

Open a new document on Google Docs and type your message there like you usually would. When done writing your message, click on the blue Share button at the top-right of the screen. Simply write the recipient’s email here, and you can send a document as an email.

Share with people and groups

This gives the advantage that you can make changes to the document anytime, which will be reflected immediately.

How To Recall an Email in Gmail – FAQ

Can You Unsend an Email on Gmail?

If you realize that you don’t want to send an email you just sent, Gmail, by default, provides a 5-second window in which you can recall and edit your email. You can increase the timer for this window to 30 seconds by going into the General settings and heading over to the Undo Send option.

How Do I Recall an Email After 30 Minutes in Gmail?

The recall message Gmail option only has a delay of up to 30 seconds. After that, the email is sent, and there is no way to recover it. Gmail doesn’t recall your messages. Instead, it puts a short delay between sending your emails.

How Long Do You Have to Recall an Email in Gmail?

By default, Gmail has a 5-second delay in recalling your emails. This can be increased up to 30 seconds by heading into the settings. However, there is no way to unsend the email after this time has passed.

Can I Unsend an Email in Gmail After 10 Minutes?

The Undo Send feature only puts a delay in sending your emails. You can’t unsend an email after the 30-second delay has passed. Gmail has no option to recall an email. Outlook can be more forgiving, but only for internal company emails.

Recall an Email in Gmail

Gmail is a fantastic email messaging platform with tons of features to ease users’ use. The Undo Send option is one of them.

Even though it’s far from perfect, it can be a lifesaver for many people as it can be highly frustrating when you click send and realize you forgot to add one tiny bit of detail. This feature allows you to avoid such issues.

We hope this article helped you learn more about how to recall an email in Gmail and how you can use it to make your life easier. If you’d like to learn more about upping your Gmail game, check out our list of Gmail hacks.

Jake Wright
Jake Wright
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Jake is a spreadsheet expert and content writer from New Zealand. He has a double Bachelor's Degree in Teaching and has been working in the education industry for over 11 years. His experience makes him adept at breaking down complex topics so that everyone is able to understand.