How to Recall a Mail in Gmail

You just sent a mail through your Gmail account and realized your mistake. And now you want to recall it. The answer to this query is you can’t recall a mail in Gmail but you can only “Undo” the send that too almost immediately after sending the mail.

How to recall a mail in Gmail? While Gmail does not have an option to recall, you can cancel the send mail request by clicking on “Undo” option (visible on Message Sent Notification received on sending a mail) within the time limit which is just 5 seconds by default. This time limit can be increased up to 30 seconds for your future emails.

If the allowed time limit has already gone by since you sent the mail, the option to Undo disappears. Sorry.

Now if you want to understand how the whole “Undo” send process works in Gmail and also some tips to avoid erroneous send-outs in future, read on.

What actually happens with clicking “Undo” when you send an email in Gmail and what is the time limit that you have to Undo. Let’s see this in detail.

Undoing a Send Mail Request in Gmail

As soon as you send a mail in Gmail, you get a pop-up notification i.e. Message Sent which also gives you options to “Undo” or “View Message” after you click on send. To recall the mail, you need to click “Undo” with the required time limit (which is 5 seconds by default and can be increased to a maximum of 30 seconds). Once you click on undo, the message is not sent and you are taken to the ‘Draft Mail’ Stage

Gmail Undo Mail Option

Once the time limit gets over, the ‘Undo’ option disappears and you can’t recall or undo the sending now.

For your future mails, you can edit this time-limit to “Undo” send. This time limit is called the Send Cancellation Period in Gmail.

How to Change the Send Cancellation Period in Gmail (Please open Gmail in Desktop for this)

  • Clicking on the Gear Icon on your Gmail Account
  • Scroll down and click on Settings
  • In the General tab, scroll down to find the “Undo Send” option and select the Send Cancellation Period as per your choice. But here too- you only have 4 options – 5 seconds (default), 10 seconds, 20 seconds and 30 seconds which is the maximum.

But what if you have already exceeded the time limit ?

Sorry, as explained above, there is actually no option to recall a mail here. You can consider just sending another mail informing the receiver to ignore/delete the previous mail or any other message that you want to actually say to avoid the damage done.

The reason for this is –

The “Undo” option is just a way of giving you a window period to delay the actual sending of mail to the recipient. So if you realize an error immediately after sending, you can cancel or undo send within this time limit.

There is no way to actually recall a mail here, like the option that you see in Outlook.

Tip to avoid errors- Have Google Ask for “Send” confirmation after clicking on Send (works only on Gmail App)

Another thing which you can consider to avoid erroneous send-outs in future is by changing the Gmail settings to prompt you for a confirmation before sending a mail. Now, note that for some reason, this option is available only on the Gmail App on mobiles.

So that is all about the undo process in Gmails. Hope the tips help you avoid a situation where you need to recall the mail.

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