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How to unsend email
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Tech tips

Tech tip: How to unsend an email before it goes through

We have an abundance of methods to communicate with each other. Beyond traditional phone calls (which people tend to avoid nowadays), we have texting, video calls, direct messaging through social media, comments and posts, dedicated chat apps, email and more.

When it comes to asking for help, how do you reach out? You have many options, but which is most effective? A call, email or text? Tap or click here to find out.

You’d think we’ve been using email long enough to avoid mistakes, but that’s not the case. Most people have regretted sending an email before, whether it’s one of those situations where cooler heads should prevail or embarrassing mistakes, missing attachments or something else. If only we had a few precious seconds to unsend it. Well, we do. Here’s how.

Gmail’s Undo Send

Gmail is one of the most popular email services globally, with more than 1.5 billion users, as reported by Statista. There’s bound to be some mistakes with all those people sending out emails. Fortunately, Google gives you the option to unsend an email after you’ve sent it, but you are limited in terms of time.

To unsend an email with Gmail on your computer:

  • After you’ve sent an email, you’ll see a Message Sent popup on the lower left of your screen.
  • Click Undo to unsend the message.
  • The window for unsending a message is limited, but you can change how long you have. Click the Settings icon in Gmail, then click See all settings.
  • You’ll see an option to change the Send cancellation period under Undo send.
  • Click the dropdown menu and select a length of time.
  • Select Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

To unsend an email with the Gmail app from mobile:

  • Right after you send a message, you’ll see the message Sent popup and the option to Undo.
  • Tap Undo.

RELATED: Every time you send an email or use your address to sign up for a new account, you expose yourself to spam, malware and more. Apple has an option to create a unique, random email address to protect your primary one. Tap or click here to see how it works and how to use it.

Unsending a message with Outlook

“Message recall is not available for users with email addresses ending in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com,” according to Microsoft. That’s rough. There is a caveat, however.

An undo send option delays sending the message, so you can quickly cancel if you change your mind. Here are instructions for enabling the option and using it:

  • Go to Settings > View all Outlook settings in Outlook.com.
  • Click Mail > Compose and reply.
  • Under Undo send, choose how long Outlook will wait before it sends your messages.
  • Select Save.
  • After you set this up, you’ll see an Undo option at the bottom of the page when you send a new message.

Related: No, that’s not an angry email from your boss – Don’t fall for this new scam

The third-party option

Third-party email providers come in many flavors, from free to paid services. All offer different features and try to distinguish themselves from the big boys like Google and Microsoft.

Mailbird has the option to unsend, and just as with the services above, the time limit can be adjusted:

  • Go to Menu > Settings > Composing.
  • Set the Undo send period to enable the option.
  • Hit Save.
  • After you send a message you’ll see an option to Undo at the bottom of the screen.
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