How to Unsend Emails and Messages

Want to take back something you wrote to a friend online? Better think fast.

Ever wish you had an email time machine you could use to instantly erase the cringeworthy, typo-riddled message you sent to the wrong person? You might be surprised to know that feature already exists. And soon, it’s coming to Facebook.

The social media platform is testing a feature for Messenger that lets users retract messages within 10 minutes of sending them. But there’s a catch. Everyone in the conversation can see that you erased a message. Facebook will leave a warning, called a tombstone, in its place: You deleted this message.

While you wait for this new Facebook feature to roll out, here’s how to unsend messages in Gmail, Outlook, and Instagram.

Gmail


Google’s popular email service lets you unsend messages from the Gmail app, or from a web browser, like Chrome or Firefox. You’ll have anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds to change your mind. It just takes a few simple steps:

After you send an email, a “Sent” message will appear on your screen. In the Gmail app, the message appears in a black box across the bottom of your phone. On a browser, this message appears in a yellow box across the top of the screen. Just click Undo.

You can also adjust the length of time you have to unsend an email from your account in a web browser.

1Click the Settings icon  in the top-right corner of your Gmail inbox.

2Click Settings.

3Under the Enable Undo Send feature, select the timeframe you want: 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.

4Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

 

Outlook


Outlook’s Recall and Resend feature not only removes an unopened email from a recipient’s inbox, it can also swap out the mistake with a replacement email without anyone knowing. There are a few rules to keep in mind:

  • Both the sender and recipient(s) must have an Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange email account with the same domain. An email address domain appears after the @ symbol. For example, yourname@company.com and theirname@company.com have the same domain.
  • You must be on a PC. The recall feature doesn’t work if you’re using any version of Outlook on a Mac.

Got it? Follow these simple steps to recall and resend your emails:

1Open the Sent Items folder and double-click the email you want to recall.

2Click File > Info > Resend or Recall > Recall This Message.

3In the pop-up that appears, choose to recall the email or recall and replace it with a new one.

If you choose to recall the email, you’ll get a confirmation message in your inbox when the original is deleted. If you choose to recall and replace the email, the original will appear so you can make edits. After sending it, you’ll get a confirmation message.

 

Instagram


When you erase messages sent in the app, Instagram doesn’t retract them like Facebook Messenger does. It deletes them without a trace.

1Tap the Home button , then the Messages icon  in the top-right corner of the screen.

2Find the conversation you want to delete a message from.

3Select any message and tap Unsend.

Previous Article: