October 1, 2020

How to recall an email in Gmail

Are you having regrets about sending that email? Let's save you and show you how to unsend an email in Gmail.

Gmail logo on smartphone stock photo 1

Gmail is the top email client with a 38% market share as of April 2020 (according to Litmus) and over 1.5 billion active users. With so many Gmailers, we are sure many of you are trying to take advantage of all the service’s features. One of them is the ability to recall an email in Gmail.

The ability to recall or “unsend� an email in Gmail is great and was introduced a couple years ago. It has proven to be a life-saver for those times a mistake slips through or when you regret sending an unpleasant email. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, today we will teach you all about how to recall an email in Gmail. Let’s dig into the details.


What recalling an email on Gmail actually means

Gmail Logo

First things first. The truth is you can’t really recall an email in Gmail after it has been sent. Google only allows you to unsend an email, but nothing can be truly done after the delivery has been completed. Furthermore, unsending an email in Gmail is only possible for a short period of time, so it isn’t a true recall like you would be able to do in Outlook. With Outlook you can recall or modify an email even after it was sent.

The closest thing to a true email recall in Gmail is removing access to a confidential email. Using confidential mode gives you the ability to set an expiration date and passcode for the email. It also lets you remove access early, which is essentially like recalling an email. The only caveat is that you must send the email as a confidential email from the get-go. Here’s how to do it.

How to send a confidential email:

  1. Go to Gmail and compose your email.
  2. Look towards the bottom-right part of the window and click the confidential mode button, which looks like a lock with a timer.
  3. Set an expiration date and passcode.
  4. Hit Save.
  5. To remove access to the confidential email, go to Gmail and find the email in the Sent section.
  6. Open the email and select Remove access.

How to recall an email in Gmail

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  1. Go to Gmail and compose your email.
  2. Hit Send.
  3. Here’s where you get your first chance to recall an email in Gmail. When you send a message you’ll get a notification at the bottom of your screen that says Sending…. On the far right you can select the Cancel button.
  4. If you missed that chance, Gmail will send you a second notification that says Sent, with an Undo button to the right. Hit Undo to recall an email in Gmail.

Get more time to undo emails

The ability to recall an email in Gmail comes stock with every account since 2018, but it has its limitations, as mentioned earlier. Most importantly, it’s a time-sensitive feature that only works for a short period of time. If you don’t recall an email in Gmail within a few seconds the regretful email will be delivered.

Google knows this can be an issue, and has given you a feature to extend the time you get to cancel the email. Here’s how you can give yourself a bigger window of opportunity to make sure sent emails are good to go.

  1. Go to Gmail.
  2. Click on the Settings gear icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Under the General tab find the Undo Send section.
  5. Hit the drop-down menu next to it and select your Send cancelation period of preference. The limit is 30 seconds.

Need more tips for using Gmail more efficiently? We have more content for you!