We’ve all done it—hit the send button in a hurry and regretted it. Not anymore. Gmail now offers an “Undo Send” feature on its email accounts.
The item has been available for several years as an add-on through the Google Labs service and on its mobile-focused mail app, Inbox, but not for the millions of people out there who use Gmail accounts. The option is off by default, so you have to turn it on.
Undo Send shows up in the settings menu on Gmail’s website. Here’s how to turn it on:
- Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner (below your profile picture) and select “Settings.”
- Under the General tab, check the box next to “Enable Undo Send.” From there you can use the dropdown to choose your cancellation period of 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds.
- Make sure you hit “Save Changes.”
Your original recipient will remain completely ignorant of your mistake — she won’t receive a retrieval notification like in Outlook, reports Bartie Scott at Inc.com. Essentially, Google delays sending your email until you navigate away, click “Undo” or exceed your predetermined time limit, she says. Warning: Clicking “View message” counts as navigating away from the page, and you’ll lose the chance to undo, Scott adds. And if you have connectivity problems, you may not be able to retrieve the email in time.
So instead of having to send that second “oops” email to correct a mistake or dig yourself out of an embarrassing hole, you now have 30 seconds to change your mind and hit the undo button at the top of the page. Can’t decide? If you wait 31 seconds, you’re out of luck.
— Adapted from “How to Unsend an Email in Under 30 Seconds Flat,” Bartie Scott, Inc.com; “Gmail Officially Adds Undo Send, Turn It On Right Now,” Matt Novak, gizmodo.com.