Recall an Email In Gmail

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“Ohh Why did I send that email?” Can I recall it, Yes this is what we we think after sending a mail by mistake. This might have happened with most of us at some point of time. This type of incident is very common in day to day life. But if you are on outlook and on an exchange server then you can recall that email easily until the recipient reads the email.That means if the recipient has not read the e-mail yet then you can call the email back so that the recipient won’t be able to read the email. But what if you are on Gmail and you want to recall an email in Gmail?

If you are using Gmail then there is a very nice feature by Gmail lab called “Undo Send”, which enables us to recall email in Gmail. This feature works like recall email in outlook.

So How to Recall Email in Gmail?

If you have enabled the Undo Send feature for your Gmail account, then Gmail will show you a yellow notification box with an Undo button every time you send an email. Just click on that Undo button and your job is done, the email is recalled.

Note that this Undo button remains for a maximum of 30 seconds only, so after 30 seconds you will not be able to see the button and hence there is no recall after 30 seconds of sending the email. In practice Google holds the mail for maximum of 30 seconds in their mail server and once 30 second is over it sends the mail to recipient’s mail server and then it does not have any control over the email, hence no recall is possible after that.

How to Enable Recall Feature in Gmail

To enable recall feature in Gmail you need to enable the Undo Send in Gmail labs. To do so follow the below steps.

Step 1: Login to your Gmail account.

Step 2: After successful login click on the geared icon on right top corner and then click on settings. (See below image)

Recall Email In Gmail


Step 3: Labs Now navigate to the Labs menu under settings. Search for the Undo Send and  then select Enable and then click on “Save changes”. Gmail will reload now and you have enabled the recall feature in Gmail. (See below image)

Recall Email in Gmail


Step 4: Now as you have enabled the recall feature you need to increase the cancellation period, by default it is 10 seconds. Again click on the geared icon, on right top corner and then select “Settings”. On the settings page look for “Undo Send” and then click the drop-down menu to the right of Send cancellation period, then select the amount of time that you want to allow to recall a message. Note that the maximum allowable time is 30 seconds. (See below image)

Recall Gmail


How to use the recall or Undo Send feature

Every time after sending the email, you can see an undo link at the top of the page, click on it and your message will not be sent.

Recall Email in Gmail


This will take you to the email composer page. That is how you do recall an email in Gmail. This feature works for all Gmail users and for all recipients. So its better to enable this feature than to regret.

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+Ayodhyanath Guru holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering and has worked with various prestigious clients in the IT industry and presently working as a Software Engineer. He is a part time blogger and presently authors the Jafaloo.Com blog. Being a tech enthusiast Guru likes to surf the web and blogs about interesting technical topics like How-To guides, freewares, Tutorials, Software, Gadgets, web applications etc. Apart from blogging he likes coding in Java/J2EE and PHP.

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  • Kiran

    I like it.. was looking for this feature in gmail.. Thanks for the nice tip..

  • Mlivneh

    I must be hallucinating, but if this is really there as describe, only an einstein IQ can find it

  • Reshma Kumari

    but this undo button dissppear in 5 seconds

  • Mickey59

    unable to find a “labs” tab

    • Guru

      Please check it once again. It is available for all.

      • Glencindy

        I do not have a labs tab either

        • Kye

          Gear symbol -> settings -> labels

          • Wolf

            it’s not “labels” it is “labs” different function

  • Ivana

    I enabled it however I cannot locate it…..please help…in addition, does it work on hte message sent several hours ago?

    • mariafaria

      No, the undo button only lasts for a few seconds (5-10 sec).

      • Amos

        you have option to select 5,10,20,30 seconds for the UNDO feature to remain by clicking on SETTINGS and setting it up under GENERAL in below optionUndo Send:Enable Undo Send
        Send cancellation period: 5102030 seconds

    • ASHU


      • ken

        someone help cant do anything to recall an email

  • scott peterson

    it’s very handy if you catch it before it disappears. I guess there’s no way to recall an unread email say a few hours after you’ve sent it though and moved on to other emails, right? Otherwise, thanks for the tip!


  • Robbie H Ellis

    after you have sent the email, then you install the Retrieve feature, can you then recall the email that you sent PRIOR to installing the recall feature?

    • Guru

      Unfortunately NO. If you have not enabled the feature then it is not possible to recall it.

  • Adrian

    Thanks Guru ! Appreciate your post Guess there is no way to do that ! If there is please let me know> Cheers Adrian

    • mariafaria

      The reason you only have a few seconds to recall the message is that it’s likely that the receiver would have opened it. If it happened, there is no point in trying to recover the message, right? So far, I haven’t found a way to know if the message was opened or not, as you can do with outlook, for example.

  • Nlcrowley50

    Hey there…for people that are having a difficult time finding the “Lab” button it’s under the gear icon/settings/lab…Just FYI.

  • Jenny

    wut about unsending emails from a long time ago?

    • Guru

      Sorry.. You can not unsend for long time ago emails. Gmail does not support that feature yet.

  • For emails I’ve considered as possibly wanting to unsend at some time in the future I’ve used Bigstring to masquerade my gmail accounts allowing me to create self-destructing and recallable email (email I can configure to expire at a certain date/time, by number of views, or at will). Unfortunately, I don’t think Bigstring accepts signups any longer – at least I can’t find a new registration link that works. I do have free signups available for similar service though which accomplishes the same thing if any one is interested. It’s useful for email you send as recallable and works with any existing email accounts (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, live, etc.). It’s about the only reasonable unsend feature work around I’ve found.
    If you’re interested – drop me a line through my contacify link:

  • angel

    thanx fr the info!!

  • James

    Max recall time 30 seconds? Almost totally useless feature..even if you can configure it to work. I don’t see any obvious recall button even when I’ve enabled the undo feature.

  • me

    just tried it on myself. Brilliant! thanks!

  • Salome Sato

    what if I sent it before clicking the undo…is there any recall still?

    • Melany

      I have the same problem

  • musiclover_555

    I wish they can make the recall longer. Good job Gmail!

  • Shamia Irving

    Oh ok. It works but the only way it would’ve been helpful is to discover this post before I created/sent the email I wanted to recall…that way I would’ve had it enabled and I would’ve been able to click it within the nano second that it stays on the screen…. I hope this is a “lab experiment” they decide to use for primetime!!!!!

    • CantUndoAfterLater

      Im with you on that one, also had the same problem. pretty useless after the fact

  • Alex

    Thanks for the information; it is useful to know, but to be honest I think this has convinced me to give up on Gmail. If this is the best service they can provide, I am just not sure it is good enough.

  • LOW

    is it hundred percent guarantee that the wrong recipient cannot open the email that you recalled?

  • Think about how almost useless this limited recall functionality is. It only serves a sender if they virtually- instantly realize they shouldn’t have sent the email. However, a more typical use case is a sender who after sending discovers a problem with the email (body, distribution list, etc.). Sure, this means upfront proofing was not sufficient … but it happens. Too bad with gmail. By the time one recognizes this more typical scenario, it is too late to use this recall feature. That’s the best Google can do?

  • uday kiran

    The recall option in outlook we can use until the receiver didn’t read the message.
    But undo is working only for few seconds after sending the mail.If we navigate to other page or inbox, the option will no longer available.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    Give me an alternate solution if I am correct.

    • Steve Westerman

      Agree with these comments, 30 second max recall is useless. How hard could it be to allow recall until the recipient opens the mail. Standard Outlook functionality for close to a decade.

  • WeCommend

    brilliant notes – thanks

  • Ana Maria Ruiz Bejarano

    Thank you so much! It was so easy to understand. Great

  • Angela Accettura

    So easy to follow and very helpful! THANK YOU 🙂