How to Unsend an Email in Gmail

Last updated: January 26, 2017 - 12:53pm EST

There are few feelings in the world worse than the regret from writing an angry comment or rant towards someone in an email, sending it to them, then instantly realizing that you didn't really mean any of it and that you should never have written it at all. But now it's sent, and your recipient is going to get the wrong impression of you. And there isn't much you can do about it... or is there? 

Fortunately, if you're using Gmail, there's a feature that lets you cancel sending an email! You can even choose how much time you want to have to cancel an email before it's sent. It used to be an experimental feature from a tech-savvy Gmail user, but now it's a standard function!

How to enable "Undo Send" in Gmail:

1. Sign in to your account and access your email settings.

Go to gmail.com and log in. When you reach your main "Inbox" screen, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

Gmail settings menu

2. Access General Settings, and find the “Undo Send” feature.

You should automatically be taken to your General settings page (if not, click General to go there). Scroll down until you see the "Undo Send" header. Click the check box beside "Enable Undo Send" to mark it and enable the feature. Then, click the drop-down menu beside "Send Cancellation Period" and select whether you want to have 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds to cancel an email after you send it.

Gmail undo send feature enabled in settings

3. Save the changes to enable the feature.

Once you've enabled "Undo Send" and specified how long you want to hold an email before you send it (in case you want to cancel it), scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save Changes.

Save Gmail settings

4. Test it out and make sure it’s working! Ensure the “Undo Send” option pops up for you in a test email – before you really need it.

You'll automatically be taken back to your main "Inbox" page. Now, try writing an email (click Compose to get started) and then clicking Send. A notification will pop up under the main search bar telling you that your message has been sent. It also gives you two options, one of which is Undo. Clicking this will cancel sending your email and take you back to your "Compose" window.

Undo sending an email with Gmail

Remember, this notification will only stay on the screen for the amount of time that you specified, so be quick about deciding whether or not you want to cancel your email!

 

There! Now you know how to enable Gmail's "Undo Send" function, set how much time you want to have after sending an email to cancel it, and actually cancel an email that you didn't want to send! If you want to learn a few more tips about some of Gmail’s advanced features, consider reading some of our other step-by-step tutorials in our Gmail course where we teach you how to apply labels to your emails, how to add signatures, or how to create templates for emails you send regularly.

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