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  • How to Unsend an Email Using Gmail
Technology Articles > Software > Communications > How to Unsend an Email Using Gmail

Google has had an ‘Undo Send’ feature available in Gmail for some time now, but that feature was well hidden in Google Labs. In order to have accessed the Undo Send feature, you had to have known about it.

Now, that feature is being brought to the masses, and it will be available as part of the regular Gmail setup. If you aren’t familiar with this Gmail feature, here’s what Undo Send can do for you.

When You Regret an Email

We’ve all been there. Your emotions get the better of you, and you send off an email that you wish you hadn’t sent three minutes after tapping the send button. This used to mean that whoever was getting your email would read it and then respond accordingly - good or bad. Now, Google is giving everyone that sends regrettable emails a second change. With the Undo Send feature, you can literally undo a sent email.

How to Unsend an Email

The feature has been upgraded a bit from when it was part of the Google Labs option. You can now find the Undo Send option under your Gmail ‘Settings,’ and you can also determine how long you want an email to linger in cyberspace before you retract it. The time limits allowed now include 10, 20, or 30 seconds after an email has been sent. If you wait longer than 30 seconds, you’ll have to live with whatever you decided to write. If you write a lot of emails that you regret, it’s best to choose the 30 second option.

If you want to use the new Gmail feature via a mobile device, you will have to install Google’s standalone Gmail mail app (and not the mail option that’s set up on your phone). Otherwise, you’re stuck sending emails that you wrote (Google notes that about 75% of Gmail users send emails through a mobile device, so it’s worth downloading the dedicated Gmail app if you are one of those users).

Why The Feature Is Now Mainstream'

If you’ve ever looked through Google Labs, you may have noticed that some of the options available there are kind of odd, and some of them don’t work particularly well. That’s because Labs was meant as a sort of experimental part of Gmail that users could look through and choose various options with the knowledge that everything included in Labs is experimental. Once Google determines that a Gmail option is suitable for everyday use, that option gets promoted to regular Gmail setting options.

So while you may have been using Undo Send for a while now if you like to look at Google Labs once in a while, that feature is now available to everyone. Undo Send can be a useful feature if you do send a lot of emails that you later regret. You can also get into the habit of saving an email in draft form before sending it - this way, you can edit your email without any kind of time limit, and your response to any other email will be a much more level-headed one.

The Gmail feature is currently available for all Gmail users. Simply head to your ‘Settings’ tab, choose ‘Undo Send’ set your preferred time limit, and start using the feature as you wish.