You’ve finished writing your first cold email.
Given a brief introduction? Check. Included article samples? Check. Finished the email with a CTA? Check.
Looks perfect. So you hit the Send button.
You suddenly remember the two rules when it comes to email: Always proofread, and never send an email when you’re upset.
While proofreading your email that you just sent, you realize your folly: You misspelled the prospect’s name! Yikes.
There goes your shot at landing the job.
Well, not anymore. You can save that job – or avert any crisis – by unsending an email.
In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step walk-through of how you can unsend emails and save yourself from having any email regrets.
Want to know how? Let’s get started!
Can You Unsend an Email in Gmail?
Yes, you can unsend emails in Gmail – but it’s an option available for only a short period of time after hitting send.
As you hit the Send button, you’ll see an Undo option right away.
The Undo Send feature is actually a default feature of Gmail, it pops up on the bottom left-hand side of your screen. It looks something like this:
If you send an email from within an existing thread, it’ll look like this:
As soon as you click on Undo, the sent email will be retracted. You’ll also see the email you just sent as a draft.
Disclaimer: You’ll have to go all Flash for this, though.
You see, if you don’t click the Undo button on time, or end up clicking the View Message option, you won’t be able to retract the email anymore.
But don’t worry yet! There is still hope.
You can change the amount of time allowed to hit that Undo button.
How to Enable Email Unsending?
As mentioned before, Gmail’s Undo Send feature is automatically turned on for a default period of five seconds. We know, it is too short!
You can adjust this time period up to 30 seconds, though, which gives you the chance to retract emails even after pressing Send.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step #1 Log in to your Gmail account.
Step #2 Click on Settings – it’s the cogwheel icon on the top right-hand side of your screen.
Step #3 Go to See all settings from the dropdown menu.
Step #4 You’ll see the General tab settings by default, which is exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Towards the middle of your screen, you’ll find the Undo Send field. Choose the number of seconds you want to increase your cancellation window frame after clicking on the dropdown arrow beside it.
There are four options: 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and 30 seconds. While the default is five seconds, we would recommend keeping a 10 seconds time frame.
You, of course, have the choice to choose a duration you find most suitable.
Step #5 After changing the cancellation period, scroll your cursor below and click on Save Changes to save your new time frame.
You have now changed your settings and extended the cancellation time frame. Wasn’t that super simple?
Keep in mind that the way the Undo Send feature works is not sending this message to the recipient and then withdrawing it. Instead, it delays the sending of the email.
For instance, if you choose to set the cancellation period to 10 seconds, your email will be sent after 10 seconds instead of the default 5 seconds.
How to Unsend an Email After Changing Cancellation Period
After increasing your cancellation period – we chose the 10-seconds time frame – let’s now take a look at how your email settings will change after saving the new settings.
We’re going to assume you’re already logged into your Gmail account. If you aren’t, make sure you log in by visiting www.gmail.com and entering your credentials.
Step #1 Draft your email that you want to send to your colleague or friend. Once you’ve finished writing the email, click on Send.
Step #2 The email window will disappear, and instead, you’ll see a pop-up on the lower left-hand side of your screen, indicating that message has been sent.
You’ll see two options: Undo and View message. As we had increased the time frame to 10 seconds, we have until exactly 10 seconds to retract our email by hitting Undo. The duration will depend on the number of seconds you chose.
Click on Undo.
Step #3 Your email will reappear as a draft on your screen. You can make any changes or trash the draft altogether – the choice is yours.
You’ll also see the Sending undone pop-up on the lower left-hand side of your screen, showing you you’ve successfully unsend your email.
That’s it! This is how you unsend an email on Gmail.
Easy peasy, right?
Unsend Settings: At a Glance View
Under the Undo Send field, you’ll see the following:
Send cancellation period: __ seconds
As discussed above, when you click on the small dropdown arrow next to the ‘seconds’ box, you’ll see four duration options: 5, 10, 20, and 30 seconds.
You can choose a time frame that you think would work best for you. Remember, if you select the 30-seconds option, your email will be sent after 30 seconds.
How to Recall an Email in Gmail for Android or iOS Devices
Many people are using their mobile phones to send emails – whether work or personal.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense to know whether you can unsend an email that has been sent on the Gmail application on a phone.
The good news is that it is possible to unsend an email on your phone – provided you change the settings for the Undo button using a desktop. The Undo Send feature is default and shows up even when you use a mobile phone.
In the Gmail mobile app, the Undo button crops up at the bottom right-hand side of the screen and looks something like this:
Once you click on the Undo button, your email will be retracted automatically. So, all you need to do is follow our above steps to increase the cancellation time period, and you’ll be good to go.
The Bottom Line
Unsending an email in Gmail is pretty simple. All it involves is a few extra steps to change settings, and you’ll have another shot at sending the right email.
That said, it’s also possible your email may arrive in your recipient’s inbox before you can recall it.
Whether you set the time duration to 10 seconds or 30 seconds if your recipient already starts to read what you sent, unsending the email may not make much of a difference. In other words, time is of the essence here.
Still, there’s no harm in updating the Unsend setting. After all, better safe than sorry!