How to Unsend an Email in Gmail

Let us be frank for a second (yes, even you, Bob)—we’ve all been there. You write half an email and push send before you have the time to gasp: “But I didn’t even get to the point!” Too late, your boss is already reading your incoherent message wondering what the heck “I will be abs-” means. And you curse under your breath, praying for the ground beneath you to open up and swallow you whole. Or you resort to dramatically throwing your computer out the window. Neither options are especially helpful and the second one is pretty expensive, too. Well, rejoice one, rejoice all—today we’re gonna talk about how to make use of Gmail’s latest (and long-awaited) update or how to unsend an email. The only condition is—you’ve got to have quick fingers.

Come Back, Email, Come Back!

Girl sending an email too soon

The unsend-your-wretched-email feature has been present in Gmail Labs for six years now, but the rest of us mere mortals haven’t been so lucky. In order to join the ranks of the privileged, all you need to do is follow these few simple steps:

  • Log in to your Gmail account
  • Find the gear-shaped Settings icon located in the upper right-hand side of the screen and click on it
  • Choose Settings from the menu
  • Scroll down till you’ve found Undo Send
  • Select Enable Undo Send
  • Now you need to choose your cancellation period, i.e. how long you can wait to decide whether or not you wish to abort the mission. The offered choices are 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds and while none of them are terribly long, half a minute is the closest to… say, an hour or 5 days, which would probably be preferable.
  • Set your cancellation time (it should look like this):

Undo Send option

  • Scroll a bit more down, click Save Changes found at the bottom of the page… and you’re done!

If you’re a bit of a doubting Thomas, you can test the feature right now. Just click the Compose button, scribble something real quick and hit Send. At the top of the page you’ll see a line that says: “Your message has been sent. Undo. View Message.” If you’re fast enough, press Undo and Gmail will let you know that “sending has been undone”.

See? Piece of cake. Your boss now doesn’t need to wonder why in the fresh hell you’d talk to them about your abs. Instead, you can take a deep breath and finish the announcement regarding your short impending absence calmly and intelligibly.

And that’s basically it. We hope you won’t need to overuse this feature, but still… it’s nice to know you can, isn’t it?