Gmail Undo Send – Saving You from Your Mistakes

Dear Boss,

You have got to be the worst boss ever. Not only are you stupid and cheap, you’re ugly too. I don’t care if I have to sleep on the streets, I’m done with this lousy job. That’s right, I quit, effective immediately. Good luck trying to find some other sucker willing to put up with your shenanigans.

Sincerely,

Disgruntled Employee
Corresponding Secretary
I Hate My Boss, Inc.

If you’ve ever been so fed up that you’ve sent a nasty email, only to regret your decision the millisecond after you hit the Send button, you need to get Undo Send for Gmail.

Undo Send is a feature that gives you a cooling off period before your email is actually sent out by Gmail. Undo Send gives you up to 30 seconds to change your mind and take back your email before anyone sees it.

This feature isn’t just for nasty emails. Perhaps you hit Reply All when you meant to reply only to the sender. Or maybe you sent an email claiming to have attached a file, then suddenly realized that you forgot to attach it.

Oops!

Use Undo Send and suddenly the 500 recipients who were about to see that embarrassing email will be none the wiser about your transgression.

How to Enable Undo Send

First, get a Gmail account. This only works on Gmail — sorry if you use any other email service.

Second, open your Gmail account and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner.

Click on Settings in the drop down menu. Then click on Labs in the top menu.

Scroll down to “Undo Send” and click Enable.

Then scroll back up to the top and click Save Changes.

That’s it. You’re done.

Test Undo Send

Yes, you could test to see whether this feature works by sending the above Nasty Gram to your boss, but I suggest sending an email to yourself to try it out first. Write an email to yourself (be nice!) and hit Send.

At the top of the screen an Undo link will appear for a few seconds. Click on the link before it disappears and the email won’t be sent.

Customizing Undo Send

Setting up Undo Send is easy and you don’t have to do anything else. But if you want to customize this feature, you can adjust the amount of time the Undo Send button appears, from 5-30 seconds.

By adjusting the time, you’re telling Gmail how long to wait before it sends your email.

To adjust the time the Undo link appears after you hit the Send button, click on the Gear icon, then Settings, but this time, click on General, on the left side of the top menu. Scroll down to Undo Send and choose the Undo Send Cancellation period.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Changes. You can change this later if you need more or less time.

What Else You Need to Know

Do this now. You know very well that if you don’t do this right now, sure enough you are bound to send out an embarrassing email before you have a chance to enable this feature. Setting up Undo Send only takes about a minute and then you’ll have this feature ready to go, whether you need it or not. That’s peace of mind, free of charge!

Undo Send is temporary. Once the Undo Send button disappears, the email has been sent and you can’t retrieve it. Sorry, but it can’t work miracles.

Bottom Line

Avoid unnecessary embarrassment by enabling Undo Send. You’ll be able to retrieve your emails for a few seconds after you hit Send, perhaps preserving your reputation and your job.

Have you ever sent out an email you instantly regretted sending? Are you brave enough to share with us what happened? Has Undo Send ever saved you from a predicament? Let us know in the Comments section below!

********************

#PhillyETE

Yesterday I attended the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference in Philadelphia, hosted by Chariot Solutions. The day was filled with fascinating speakers addressing many key issues in the world of technology.

I attended presentations by marvelous speakers on the topics of The Big Data Revolution, Cross Platform App Development, Diversity in Technology, Going Big with Big Data and App Development in a Regulated Industry. The Conference continues today with more exciting programs.

You can find out more about the Conference at the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise website.

* Frustration image by Sybren A. Stüvel

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    Ah…I’m glag I knew this one :)

    I agree, it does become embarrassing at times when you send mails you feel you shouldn’t have or that needed editing, all of which you tend to realize later. But by that the damage is already done.

    I learnt of this feature a few months back and enabled it right away and am sure glad that I can take sometime to make up my mind when I really want to send the email, or if I wish to edit or not send it at all. I’ve been glad many times for having enabled this feature and would strongly recommend it to everyone too.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice day ahead :)
    Harleena Singh recently published this awesome post..Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved OneMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Harleena, Great point. Once you get used to using Undo Send, you kind of wish the rest of life had an Undo button, don’t you? The first time you need Undo Send, you’re awfully glad you enabled it.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendation, Harleena!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Your Top March Madness Apps!My Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I suppose this could be useful. I dont think I have ever sent an email by mistake. I use Gmail, but through Outlook. I must check it, I think I have to turn off some security feature that my antivirus doesn’t like. I am receiving emails, but apparently they don’t send. I have 5 email addresses with different providers and so I’m not too worried. I only seem to send occasional emails now, usually to students.

    We have blue sky and sunshine here today, I’m tempted to get my camera out!
    Mike Maynard recently published this awesome post..Treasure in the Black CountryMy Profile

  3. says

    If only I was so quick to start feeling regret! I love the feature but my “oh my god, what have I done” feeling doesn’t kick in for quite some time. I would love to see Google extend that feature to 10 minutes.

  4. Sapna says

    Hi Carolyn,

    That’s the great feature in gmail, I’ve been using that and very true it saves us from the embarrassment. After reading the post I changed the time to 30 so that I’ve ample time to undo the things.

    Thanks for this great share.

    Sapna

  5. says

    Undo has been a friend of mine on many occasions. It cause me to hesitate after I have sent, typically I see last minute typos and spelling mistakes.

    My question is this…

    Where is the email actually sitting in this state of “limbo?”

    Thanks for everything you do Carolyn.

    Best
    Geoff
    GeoffTalbot recently published this awesome post..When Losing Your Job Is A Good ThingMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Geoff, Yes, Undo Send can quickly become your new Best Friend. All it takes is one time that this cool feature saves you from embarrassment and suddenly you think this feature is the greatest invention ever!

      The emails go to Fairy Land where unicorns hold onto the emails for the required time before sending them to their intended destination. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told…
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..How Much Would It Take for You to Switch to Bing?My Profile

  6. says

    works great! Thanks. I was a victim a few weeks ago of selecting an email address when gmail popped up who they thought I meant. After I hit send I realized my mistake. Fortunately, it wasn’t anything too embarrassing, but this would have been great to have had then. Good insurance :)

    • says

      Hi Kathy, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I’m glad you could give it a try and that Undo Send will come in handy for you. You’re right, it’s so easy to make a mistake sending an email but with Undo Send, we don’t have to worry about regretting our messages.

      Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts with us.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Grab Yourself a Gravatar!My Profile

  7. says

    Carolyn,

    Wow! I can’t tell you how many times I was too quick to send an e-mail only to discover that it contained one or more glaring typos/grammatical errors. Says it’s my job to write or edit our company’s blog posts, these errors tend to call into question my “competency” with the English-language (a big no-no for us bloggers). Thankfully, after reading your post I have at least 30 seconds to reread my e-mails and saved myself a ship load of embarrassment.

    Thank you!
    Ken (EEI) recently published this awesome post..How To Effectively Handle A Noise NuisanceMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Ken, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, that’s a brilliant way of putting it – this feature gives you 30 seconds to change your mind. Wouldn’t it be great to have that power elsewhere in life? Oh well, at least we can have it with our email messages!

      You’re very welcome, Ken. I’m so glad this helped you!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Tech Yourself Back in Time with a Time Machine!My Profile

  8. Hajra says

    I love you for this! ;)

    I have send so many incomplete emails only because I was in a hurry or clicked on send too soon and then I have to send an apology and a follow up email.\

    I just activated this! Thank you! :)

  9. says

    Carolyn – I have used the “Mail Recall” functionality in my outlook many times, and it really is useful, but of course it is also available after the mails have been sent and you want to recall them for whatever reason.

    This is interesting that google has incorporated that in gmail as well, and it makes real sense to allow us to customize the time to wait. I do not want to wait more than 30secs for my mails to be delivered :-)

    Nice share.
    Praveen Rajarao ( recently published this awesome post..How To Drive More Traffic From FaceBookMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Praveen, Yes, Outlook does have this feature, but it’s a bit more complex than Gmail Undo Send. Yes, the developer of this feature must agree with you about 30 seconds because that is the maximum time to delay your email being sent.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Take a College Tour with Tech!My Profile

  10. says

    Hi, Carolyn!

    What a godsend, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom once again! And you are so right about enabling this feature RIGHT NOW, I have done so and set the time to 30 seconds. My “specialty” is sending off mails without the attachment and it can be so embarrassing to follow up with an apology, especially when addressing some prospective employer or customer …
    Lovely hangout yesterday and it was great to see you again and sharing our experiences. Tried very hard to focus on our homework ….

    • says

      Hi Barbara, I’m so glad you will find this useful. Undo Send can get us out of some very tricky situations. No matter how many times we proofread a message, inevitably we only see our typos after we hit send! We can look much more professional with Undo Send as our newly revealed typos can be corrected before anyone else sees them. :-)

      Yes, that Google Plus hangout was wonderful yesterday. Always a pleasure seeing you, Barbara! I had no difficulty completing my homework last night, my brain was in overdrive. ;-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Grab Yourself a Gravatar!My Profile

      • says

        I have to tell you what happened after having installed Undo Send and I am not very proud of it: I DID it again – I forgot the attachment!!! Lesson learnt: do not think that a programme will do the thinking for you … but make good use of the 30 second delay!

  11. says

    Thanks Carolyn.

    I have written emails then deleted them so many times when I get all steamed up. This is a Godsend. I must say I’m very careful about pressing that send button, but you just never know when the day will come when I do.

    Going over to enable this right after sending this comment to you. Yes…do it now is what we need to do. Otherwise, we will never apply it.

    Donna
    Donna Merrill recently published this awesome post..11 Limiting BeliefsMy Profile

  12. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    Thank you for sharing this feature! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent something and then instantly regretted it for one reason or another. Usually for something like not including my attachment.

    I’ve already installed it to gmail!

    Stacy
    Stacy Claflin recently published this awesome post..Betrayal Tour ScheduleMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Jens, I’m glad you’ve never needed Undo Send, but it couldn’t hurt to enable it even if you never use it. Hey, it’s free so why not? That extra few seconds it takes to send your message may be time you need to retrieve it!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Take a College Tour with Tech!My Profile

  13. Sonia says

    Very cool. I didn’t even know that option even existed. I work with Gmail for work and its a feature I will tell my coworkers especially when they send stuff to customers. Thanks for the tip!

  14. says

    Now I’ve never sent an email that I didn’t mean to but when Mom moved over here by me I set her up with gmail and she needed this feature.

    She had sent an email to my brother and I don’t know how she did it but she sent it to her entire list. They were very confused and she was very embarrassed so when I go over to her house this evening for dinner I’m setting this up Carolyn. She’s going to want me to thank you right now so thanks for sharing this. I had no idea they had this feature.

    Yay!!!

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently published this awesome post..Why Blogging Communities Are Big In 2013My Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne, Yes, that’s a great example of how Undo Send can be very useful to you. When you accidentally send an email to the wrong person, you can just cancel it with Undo Send!

      Undo Send can also be handy for small typos that you don’t see until after you press the Send button. There’s no harm in enabling it so you can have it ready in case you ever need it!

      Please tell your dear mother that I am delighted she found this so helpful! Thanks for sharing her story with us, Adrienne! :-)
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..The Mobile Tech Revolution after Five Years – Is Unfriending the Latest Trend?My Profile

  15. Samfrank says

    Undo send has got to be my favorite Gmail feature. I use this at least once per week, and am so incredibly thankful every time I do. It is worth switching to gmail for this one feature alone!

  16. says

    Carol, I love this! Thank you, in the past I thought you only had 5 seconds, I love having 30 seconds. Sometimes I put in the wrong email address of an email as it auto populates. Google thinks it knows who I want to send to :)
    This is one I must save in my bookmarks, thank you!
    Lisa recently published this awesome post..Page Speed – Which Website Formats Have The Fastest?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Lisa, You’re so right, 5 seconds just isn’t enough time to realize you made a mistake and click on Undo. 30 seconds is much more realistic. And will we really suffer if all of our emails get sent out 30 seconds after we hit Send? I think not!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Take a College Tour with Tech!My Profile

  17. Neamat Tawadrous says

    Hi Carolyn,

    This is indeed a great and interesting feature. It’s my first time hearing about it. I will sure enable it immediately. It can save lots of embarrassment. I hope the other email providers such as Yahoo, hotmail and others will create such a great feature as well. My main email is with Yahoo.

    Thanks Carolyn for sharing this great feature with all of us and I am glad to visit your blog for the first time and learn something new.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

  18. says

    Hi Carolyn,
    That’s a really cool feature. I don’t use gmail as my primary account, but I’ll definitely add it to the account I do have. I know we’ve all had a big “gulp” at some point in time when we sent out an email. All carriers should have this feature. Thanks for letting us know this exists. Warmest regards, Lisa
    Lisa Magoulas recently published this awesome post..Shrimp stir-fryMy Profile

  19. says

    Hi Carol.

    This is a great feature. I don’t use gmail often, but I’m aware of this functionality on other email systems. It’s good to know that it’s also on gmail. Great share and necessary as I know many people use gmail as their main email account.
    Thanks,
    Barbara
    Barbara Charles recently published this awesome post..Are You A Good Internet Marketing Coach?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Barbara, Yes, if you have this feature on another email system, then you’re probably already a fan of this function. For those who are on Gmail, they should enable this feature before they need it!

      Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Take a College Tour with Tech!My Profile

  20. says

    Hello Mam,
    I would say you are a genius. Found a great trick. I have never heard about this trick or Iwould say most of the people have never heard. In my trust I have to submit email regularly but sometimes it may happen some wrong data sent to them. But now no problem, I can control it by your trick.
    Thanks for Sharing this awesome trick and I will surely let others to know about this :D
    Ravinder Mehta recently published this awesome post..List of Awesome Facebook Home FeaturesMy Profile

  21. says

    We have this feature through FirstClass with our school board emails, too, and it comes in very handy. Consider how many times you ask someone a question, then realize that the answer is right under your nose, or that you were asking the wrong person, or at the wrong time. Might have to start using my gmail address more often!
    Ida Mae West-Simone recently published this awesome post..Defining your own SerenityMy Profile

  22. says

    Hi Carolyn

    I have a gmail account, but use my Yahoo most of the time. When I was working with an employer they used Internet Explorer. If you sent an email out and the people had not opened it yet you could go back and retrieve it (even hours later). Don’t know if that was just within the company or not. It would show there in your mail but when you went to open it, there would be nothing there and then it would vanish from your inbox.

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently published this awesome post..Who Goes There?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Mary, That employer could perhaps have been using Outlook. I always wondered what people thought when they saw an email in their inbox but then it disappeared. It’s almost like admitting a major mistake. I was always reluctant to take advantage of that feature, though I suppose if the error were great enough I would have retrieved the email!

      Thanks for sharing your comment with us, Mary!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Grab Yourself a Gravatar!My Profile

  23. Ron Whitaker says

    Finally! A free email provider offering Undo Send!

    Sounds like a great feature.

    Now, if Yahoo! email would offer the same thing!

  24. Felipe Porto Alegre says

    This undo mode is great. I’ll start using my gmail account more often, mainly for delicate issues. Many times I regreted sending a message with no coming back. Wonderful tip!

    • says

      Hi Luis, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, Gmail Undo Send can be a big help when you quickly realize that what you just sent out isn’t your best work. Whether it’s a typo, a forgotten attachment or a message written in anger, you don’t have to live with your mistakes anymore.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Swappa – Satisfy Your Mobile CravingsMy Profile

  25. Karnal Singh says

    I did not know of this undo feature of gmail before your article.I have had this problem of sending wrong email but did not know how to reverse it…Your article was really helpful….