Oops I Did It Again, Hit Send Too Early: How to Unsend an Email

You don’t have to be Anthony Weiner to feel terribly that you just sent something you shouldn’t have and wish you could “unsend” it. Perhaps you accidentally hit Reply all when you meant to reply to your accountant friend about the CEO’s boring updates. Or maybe you wrote a nasty email to someone who stood you up only to discover you mixed up the dates.  Oh, why can’t you just turn back time and “unsend” your email?

Well, now you can.


Now you can unsend that ridiculous picture you accidentally sent to everyone.

Google lets you unsend emails
OK, you have to be using gmail (Google email) to do this but big whoop.  Even before this time machine benefit, gmail has many advantages over other email programs. Before unsending any ridiculous emails, however, you first need to set up your account to do it.

How to enable unsend

  1. Go to your gmail account and click on the options icon (upper right corner, it looks like a gear or a weird blue daisy). You will be given the choice of Mail settings, Mail help and some other things. Click on Mail settings.
  2. On the mail settings page, you default to the General tab at the top. There are many other blue hyperlinks to the right of that. Click on the one that says, “Labs”.
  3. On the Lab page, scroll down. You will see a variety of lab options.  Look for the one that says: Undo Send by Yuzo F. Click on the button that says “Enable”.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click save changes.

Testing that you correctly set up “Undo Send”

  1. Send a stupid email.
  2. At the top of the page (just below) the Search Mail/Search Web buttons you will see a yellow bar that says: Your message has been sent.  And right next to that, an Undo blue hyperlink.  Click Undo.
  3. Voila!  You will get a confirmation that your message has not been sent and it will be waiting right there to be edited or deleted.

You can only undo send for 30 seconds
The time machine switch only works for up to 30 seconds, and this depends upon extending the setting beyond the initial default of 10 seconds.  If you want 30 seconds for the cancellation period, do the following:

  1. Go to options (remember, the weird blue daisy in the corner) and click on Mail settings.
  2. It defaults to the General Tab.  That’s where you want to be.
  3. Several rows down you will see the setting for Undo Send.  It will probably be set on 10 seconds for your cancellation window. Set it to 30 seconds.
  4. Save changes.

30 seconds may not seem that long but it’s long enough to realize you forgot the attachment, or forwarded an email to the wrong John, or vented what should have been kept private. So it’s nice to have an unsend option just in case you need it.

Mojo Moves

  • If you don’t have a gmail account, set one up.  You can have all your other email addresses forward to it
  • Enable the Undo Send option now.  Do some test runs so you’re ready when you have to do it for real
  • Check out the other cool gmail Mail settings ->Labs options including Mail Goggles which requires you to do a math problem before emailing in order to avoid late night alcohol influenced emails

Got a story about an email you shouldn’t have sent? Spill in the comments.

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Did you enjoy this post?
  • Sondra Wright

    Hasn’t happened to me yet Susan but it’s certainly good to know the solution in advance of the problem. Thanks!

  • Debi

    Great info to have. We’ve all made this mistake. Thanks

  • http://www.hanlancommunications.com Wendy Hanlan

    Oh ya, I’ve done that (groan). This info should go into a “survivor’s handbook” and given out to graduates. Nice job on the article Mojo40!

  • Alleighkat

    Only just added it after I sent the email, unfortunately my net hasn’t loaded fast enough to allow me to unsend the email in time. Next time I will be able to use it though!

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