This guide shows you how to recall an email in Gmail. Below, I’ll show you where to the settings, how to create a cancellation period, and where to find the option on desktop or mobile devices. Overall, it only takes a second to recall an email in Gmail. Let’s talk about how to get it done.
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How To Recall an Email in Gmail
The Gmail inbox provides a feature that allows you to recall a sent email within 30 seconds for those users. In this article, I will give you a detailed guide on how to recall an email in Gmail after it has been sent. Unfortunately, by default, the recall email Gmail function doesn’t automatically apply. So, when I need to recall Gmail account messages, you’ll need to activate this option in the settings. Therefore, before you can recall an email on Gmail, you’ll need to follow this two step guide. (I’ll break down the steps further below).
- Enable undo send on my Gmail account under “Settings” > “General” > “Undo send.”
- Set the send cancellation period.
Additionally, there are also several ways you can do this on desktop and mobile. Outlook recalls better than the Gmail inbox, but only within a company server. Let’s look at these methods in more detail below.
How To Choose the Amount of Time to Recall a Message
Here is what I would do when I want to retract an email in Gmail using the “Undo Send” option in my Gmail web client:
Step 1: Open the Settings
- Click on the gear icon at the top right side of the screen. You will see a sidebar show up.
- Click on “See all settings” here. This will take you to the settings page that contains all the Gmail account settings.
Step 2: Setting the Email Cancellation Period in Your Gmail Inbox
- Click on the “General” option to go to that tab.
- 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.
Step 3: Save Changes
Once you’ve chosen, scroll down and click “Save Changes.”
Now, whenever you press send on an email, a confirmation box will appear at the screen’s bottom-left with two buttons. Clicking on “Undo” stops the message from sending, while the “View message” will let you see the email you sent. Note that clicking the “View message” won’t prevent the email from sending.
Clicking on “Undo” in the selected send cancellation period 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 or initially respond poorly to a passive-aggressive email.
Recall Emails with Gmail Mobile
There’s a major difference between how to unsend an email in Gmail mobile vs. on desktop. The good news? The “undo” feature is already enabled on most mobile operating systems. That makes the recall process pretty simple on your phone.
Step 1: When you send an email using the Gmail mobile application, a pop-up box appears at the bottom of the screen, telling you the email has been successfully sent. Here’s an image showing how to recall an email in Gmail on a phone for Android.
Step 2: If you want to recall the email, click “Undo” on the right side of that pop-up. This button should take you back to the email compose screen, where you can change the email or discard it altogether. I often use this method because it is quick and simple.
Unsending Emails on iPhone or iPad
The process for how to recall a Gmail message on iPhone or iPad is pretty similar to how you’d do it on a Pixel or other Android device. First, open the Gmail app and type in your email message. Then, you need to send it to the recipient’s email address.
Once you have sent your email, you can unsend it in a specific time frame. Here’s how to recall a sent email in Gmail on iPhone:
- Once you’ve sent your email message, you’ll see a prompt that says “Sent” and the option to “Undo.”
- Tap “Undo.” These should take you back to the email compose screen, where you can change the email or discard it altogether.
Depending on the time that has passed, this should undo the sent email in Gmail.
On an iPhone, you usually have a few seconds to recall the sent email on the Gmail app, but once you do, the email will be saved as a draft in your phone.
Unlike on Android, you can change the time it takes to allow cancellations on iPhone:
- Go to “Settings” > “Mail“
- Enable “Undo send mail” by tapping it
- Choose the amount of recall period you want to allow cancellations. The options are Off, 10 secs (default), 20 secs, or 30 secs. I personally recommend setting the time to 30 seconds, as this gives you enough time to unsend your emails. However, choose whatever preference that works best for you.
Note: You can’t unsend a Gmail email after 10 minutes since 30 seconds is the maximum time allowed.
How to Enable “Confirm Before Sending” on Android Devices
- Open Gmail on your mobile device and open the menu button in the top right
- Navigate to “Setting” > “General settings“
- Scroll down and make sure the “Confirm before sending” box is checked
Why the Recalling Function Isn’t Ideal
The undo send function 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 “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 disappears completely, leaving you no choice but to recall your email. There’s a time limit of around 30 seconds for recalling an email, which means there’s no method for how to recall an email in Gmail after 10 minutes.
This method is not the perfect solution for retracting emails. I recommend being vigilant when typing your emails, proofreading them, and ensuring you send them to the correct email address. Of course, this is not easy when sending emails automatically.
A Few Reasons Why People Want to Recall Gmail Emails
There are many reasons why people may want to recall an email. In my personal experience, it is usually due to one of these reasons:
- Regrettable wording while angry
- Forgotten attachments
- Sending to the wrong recipient
- Forgetting to CC an important manager
- The issue discussed in the email has been resolved
Alternatives to the Gmail Recall Message Feature (A Better Retrieve Email Gmail Option)
By now, I’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 want to give limited access to the recipient.
There’s no way to do this on the Gmail web or mobile device. Therefore, a workaround I often use is sharing a document via Google Docs.
It is very easy to share documents using Google Docs. You need to open a new document on Google Docs and type your message there like usual. When you are done writing your message, click on the blue “Share” button at the top-right of the screen. Write the recipient’s email here, and you can send a document as an email.
This gives you the advantage of making changes to the document anytime, which will be reflected immediately. This also works to recall emails from Google Sheets.
Become a Power User
Gmail is the most popular email service offered by Google and 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. Deleting emails will not work since you’ll only delete them from your Gmail account.
Ready to learn more advanced techniques than just knowing how unsend an email in Gmail? I personally think it is best to learn everything you can from a structured G Suite course to boost your understanding as soon as possible and become a power user.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Recall an Email in Gmail? / Can Gmail Recall Sent Emails?
If you realize that you don’t want to send a message 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 menu and heading over to the “Undo Send” option. This is the closest you’ll get to a Gmail retrieve email option.
How Do You Recall an Email in Gmail, 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 once this time limit has passed.
Can I Unsend an Email in Gmail After 10 Minutes?
The “Undo Send” feature only delays 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.
Can You Recall an Email in Gmail After a Day?
No, unfortunately, you can’t recall a sent email in Gmail after a day as the undo send feature has a maximum delay of 30 seconds.
Why Can’t I Change The Unsend Time Settings On My Gmail Account?
Chances are that you are trying to change the unsend time to be greater than 30 seconds, but that is the maximum value for this Gmail feature.
Recall an Email in Gmail
Gmail is a fantastic email messaging platform with many features to ease users’ use. The “Undo Send” option is one of them. After sending an email, it gives you a period when you can recall the message sent. 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.
I hope this article helped you learn how to recall an email in Gmail. If you’d like to learn more about upping your Gmail game, check out my list of Gmail hacks.