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How to Unsend Email in Gmail and Outlook

Written by, Ljubica Gjorgievska

Updated March, 7, 2022

It’s late, you’re in a rush, and you accidentally pushed the wrong button, sending sensitive information the wrong way.

The good news is you can make a few tweaks to your Gmail and Outlook accounts to make sure you know how to unsend an email in Gmail and Outlook in case of future slip-ups.

How to Recall an Email in Gmail

Does Gmail allow users to recall an email? Yes, and no. 

Gmail doesn’t have a traditional “recall” function, but it is possible to recall a message in Gmail within a certain timeframe – Gmail users have up to 30 seconds to hit the “Undo” button

To turn the feature on:

  1. Select the “Settings button (cog icon) on the top right and click on the General tab.
  1. Scroll down the page and check the “Enable Undo Send” box. 
  1. if you click on the drop-down button, it will show four options for a cancellation period to recall an email in Gmail. You can choose between 5, 10, 20, and 30 seconds. 
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and Save Changes.

You can test out the feature by sending an email to yourself. Once you send it, you should see a prompt in the lower-left corner. 

The recall email function on Gmail mobile is also available.

How to Recall Email in Outlook

Unlike Gmail, Outlook has a recall feature that doesn’t rely on a delay. 

Outlook users can recall an email as long as the recipient hasn’t opened it. There’s no guarantee that the recipient hasn’t read the email, but most of the time, the function will only be available if the message has an “unread” status.

The recall function may not be available for users that don’t have an Exchange account. Sometimes, it’s only enabled for users within an organisation. 

To unsend an email on Outlook:

  1. Go to your “Sent” folder and double-click on the email that you want to recall or replace.
  1. Click on the “Actions” in the drop-down menu and select “Recall This Message.” 

(Classic Ribbon layout)

To recall a message in the Simplified Ribbon layout, select the “Message tab and click on “More Commands.” Select “Actions” in the drop-down menu and click on “Recall this Message.”

  1. You can then choose between deleting the unread message or replacing it with a new one.

Outlook notifies the recipient when a sender recalls an email. The recipient will receive a separate email from Outlook, stating that the sender has deleted the message. 

If the email recipient uses a different email provider, such as Gmail, the recall function will not work.

Tips to Avoid the Need to Unsend Emails

To reduce the chances of having to recall your message on Gmail and Outlook, here are some things you can consider before clicking the “Send” button.

  • Double-check attachments

Missing attachments are a common scenario, especially when it comes to business emails. Not only does it cause a delay that could have been avoided but you’ll also have to scramble to recall that email.

  • Make sure you covered all important points

If you’re sending a lengthy email, it might be best to divide it into several parts and use bullet points to ensure that you’ve covered everything you intended. It’s much easier than having to recall a Gmail message.

  • Take your time

To avoid recalling an email on Gmail, Outlook, or any other email service, you might want to slow down when responding to partners and important clients.

  • Schedule your emails

Both Gmail and Outlook allow users to schedule their emails. This feature can allow you to double-check your email at a later time or cancel it altogether if something comes up in the meantime.

  • Add the recipient’s email address last (if possible)

This might not be applicable in all situations as the recipient field is likely to be pre-filled when dealing with replies, but adding the recipient’s email address can help prevent the necessity to recall your message on Gmail. 

Bottom Line

In the rush of a busy day, it is easy to accidentally push the wrong button and send an email to the wrong person. Luckily, email providers like Gmail and Outlook have some features in place that can help undo a potential PR disaster — provided that you act quickly. 

As a writer for Don’t Disappoint Me, my job is to collect relevant key information and interpret it into a wide range of content. I also have an MSc in Marketing, so I am always trying to expand my knowledge and discover new and exciting areas of digital marketing, SEO and web traffic building. I am a nature enthusiast, so when I’m not researching and analyzing, I love to go hiking with my dogs, camping, or snowboarding. I am a bookaholic as well and have an ongoing obsession with crime TV shows and movies.