How To Unsend An Email

Everyone at some point or other has sent an email that they have immediately regretted and wanted to unsend or recall the email back.

However, what is not commonly known is that there are ways that you can unsend an email depending on the email platform and how quick you are to act.

How To Unsend An Email

Gmail and Outlook are the most popular and commonly used email platforms, so the likelihood is that you are using one of these when conducting your own emails.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through the individual instructions for both platforms on how you can unsend an email.

Can You Unsend An Email On Gmail Or Outlook?

Before we delve into the specific instructions involved when it comes to unsending emails on Gmail or Outlook, it’s important to look into whether you can unsend an email on Gmail or Outlook.

The great news is that you can, provided that you act fast within a brief window that allows you to recall the email before it has reached your recipient’s inbox.

This brief window is commonly referred to as the “Undo Send” option, as this means that you can block the email from reaching the recipient’s inbox rather than retrieving it from the recipient’s inbox.

This is because once the email has reached the inbox, it is highly unlikely that you can recall or unsend the email. 

Unsending An Email On Gmail

The first email platform that we will be looking at is Gmail.

Gmail is the most popular and commonly used emailing platform and provides an Undo Send feature that means that for you have up to 30 seconds to recall an email if using a web browser or 5 seconds if you are using the Gmail mobile app. 

The great thing about Gmail is that you can adjust the sending cancellation period to whatever your preference is, within reason. Here are the instructions on how you can adjust the timeframe:

  1. Go onto your Gmail settings and then select the General tab.
  2. Click the “Undo Send” option.
  3. Click the “Send cancellation period” and there you will be able to alter your timeframe, provided that it is up to 30 seconds. 

When it comes to the timeframe options, you are able to choose either 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 30 seconds. 

Once you have decided on your timeframe, you’ll now be able to learn about unsending an email on the Gmail platform. 

When you send an email, there will be a button that appears that says “Undo”. After your allotted timeframe, this will then change to Message Sent, meaning that at this point, it will be too late to retract the email.

If you do select the Undo button, this will open your original email back up and move it to the Drafts folder, where it will have been saved until you are ready to send the email.

The Undo option works on all forms of Gmail’s emailing platform, meaning that the Undo button appears on the web browser as well as the Android and iOS Gmail app.

On the apps, the Undo button may appear as Cancel rather than Undo. 

Unsending An Email On Outlook

The second most commonly used emailing platform is Outlook, which is owned by Microsoft. Outlook is similar to Gmail when it comes to how long they will hold your emails before they are sent to the recipient. 

Unlike Gmail, Outlook has a shorter timeframe allotted as you will only have up to 10 seconds, depending on your preference, meaning that you will have to act quick if you decide to Unsend an email.

Another way that Outlook is different from Gmail is that you will need to turn on the Undo option manually, while Gmail automatically has the Undo option available for users.

Here is how you can turn on your Undo option on Outlook:

  1. The first thing you need to do is select the Settings icon.
  2. Click on the View all Outlook Settings and then choose the Mail option.
  3. Scroll down the list until you reach the “Undo send” button and move the slider between 0 and 10 seconds, depending on your preference. 

Once you have done this, you’ll be able to have the ability to Unsend emails depending on what timeframe you selected. 

Like Gmail, if you click the Undo button within your allotted timeframe, this will open up the original email and send it to your Draft folder to show that it hasn’t been sent to the recipient.

You can also double-check your Sent folder to be sure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Unsend An Email If It Hasn’t Been Opened?

If you wish to unsend an email, you will find that it can be possible to retract the email if it hasn’t been read by the recipient, depending on what email platform you are using.

Another way that you can unsend an email is if you click the undo button within 30 seconds of sending the email.

Is It Possible To Unsend A Gmail?

One feature that Gmail has that is handy is that it contains an Undo button, meaning that emails can be recalled and unsent when the Undo button is clicked within 30 seconds of sending the email.

If you are using the Gmail mobile app, then you have up to 5 seconds to recall the email. 

Can You Unsend An Email After A Day?

Unfortunately, if you remember that you may have made a mistake in an email, you most likely won’t be able to unsend or recall the email.

There are certain emailing platforms that allow you to recall an email if the recipient hasn’t read the email yet, however, it is best to stay safe and assume that emails cannot be unsent after a day. 


In conclusion, the instructions for unsending an email are dependent as it varies on the emailing platform.

However, it’s always best to assume that unless you are unsending an email within 30 seconds of sending an email, it’s very unlikely that you will be able to recall or unsend it.

Justin Shaw