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 in this case since you’ll only be deleting them from your Gmail account.
But, can you unsend an email in Gmail?
Yes, you can. The Gmail inbox 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 after it has been sent.
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How to Recall a Message in Gmail
Unfortunately, by default, the recall email Gmail function isn’t active to a usable degree. So, to recall Gmail account messages, you have to activate this option in the settings. Before you can recall an email on Gmail you need to:
- Enable undo send on your Gmail account under Settings > General > Undo send
- Set the send cancellation period.
Here are ways you can do this on desktop and mobile. Outlook recalls better than the Gmail inbox, but only within a company server.
How to Choose the Amount of Time to Recall a Message
Here’s how to retract an email in Gmail with the Undo Send option in your 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 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 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 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.
How to Recall Email in 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.
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 that 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 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.
How to Recall a Gmail Message on iPhone or iPad
Recalling an email in the Gmail app is similar to android and iPhone. First, you need to 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 make changes to the email or discard it altogether.
Depending on the amount of time that has passed, this should undo the sent email 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, 30 secs, and we recommend 30 seconds.
You can’t unsend Gmail after 10 minutes since 30 seconds is the maximum time allowed.
Enable Confirm Before Sending on Android
- 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 Confirm before sending 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 goes away 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, 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.
A Few Reasons Why People Want to Recall Gmail Emails
- 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, 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.
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.
This gives the advantage that you can make changes to the document anytime, which will be reflected immediately. This also works to recall emails from Google Sheets.
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 after this time limit 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.
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 tons of features to ease users’ use. The Undo Send option is one of them. After sending an email, it gives you a time 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.
We hope this article helped you learn more about how to recall an email in Gmail. If you’d like to learn more about upping your Gmail game, check out our list of Gmail hacks.
Chris is a spreadsheet expert and content writer for Productivity Spot and Spreadsheet Point. 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.