Gmail logo on smartphone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Gmail is among the top email clients with an 18% market share as of May 2021 (according to Litmus) and over 1.5 billion active users. With so many Gmailers, we’re sure many of you are trying to take advantage of all the service’s features. One of them is the ability to recall an email in Gmail.

The ability to recall or “unsend” an email in Gmail is great and was introduced a couple of years ago. It has proven to be a life-saver for those times a mistake slips through or when you regret sending an unpleasant email. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, today we will teach you all about how to recall an email in Gmail. Let’s dig into the details.

Read also: How to set up a Gmail account


What does recalling an email on Gmail actually mean?

The Gmail app on a Pixel 2 XL.

The truth is you can’t really recall an email in Gmail after it has been sent. Google only allows you to “unsend” an email, but nothing can be truly done after the delivery has been completed. Furthermore, unsending an email in Gmail is only possible for a short period of time, so it isn’t a true recall like you would be able to do in Outlook. With Outlook, you can recall or modify an email even after it was sent.

The closest thing to a true email recall in Gmail is removing access to a confidential email. Using confidential mode gives you the ability to set an expiration date and passcode for the email. It also lets you remove access early, which is essentially like recalling an email. The only caveat is that you must send the email as a confidential email from the get-go. Here’s how to do it.

See also: How to create a group email in Gmail

How to send a confidential email:

  1. Go to Gmail and compose your email.
  2. Look towards the bottom-part part of the composition window and click the confidential mode button, which looks like a lock with a timer.
  3. Set an expiration date and passcode.
  4. Hit Save.
  5. To remove access to the confidential email, go to Gmail and find the email in the Sent section.
  6. Open the email and select Remove access.

How to recall an email in Gmail

Gmail logo on smartphone stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  1. Go to Gmail and compose your email.
  2. Hit Send.
  3. Here’s where you get your first chance to recall an email in Gmail. When you send a message, you’ll get a notification at the bottom of your screen that says Sending…. On the far right, you can select the Cancel button.
  4. If you missed that chance, Gmail will send you a second notification that says Sent, with an Undo button to the right. Hit Undo to recall an email in Gmail.

Next: Common Gmail issues and how to fix them


Get more time to undo emails

Microsoft Surface Duo GMail not spanning correctly 1
David Imel / Android Authority
Gmail incorrectly spanning

The ability to recall an email in Gmail comes stock with every account since 2018, but it has its limitations, as mentioned earlier. Most importantly, it’s a time-sensitive feature that only works for a couple or a few seconds. If you don’t recall an email in Gmail within a few seconds, the regretful email is already delivered.

Google knows this can be an issue and has given you a feature to extend the time you get to cancel the email. Here’s how you can give yourself a bigger window of opportunity to make sure sent emails are good to go.

  1. Go to Gmail.
  2. Click on the Settings gear icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Select See all settings.
  4. Under the General tab, find the Undo Send section.
  5. Hit the drop-down menu next to it and select your Send cancelation period of preference. The limit is 30 seconds.

See also: How to block emails on Gmail


Need more tips for using Gmail more efficiently? We have more content for you!