Hit “Send” too soon? How to retract Gmail messages

Have you ever hit the ‘send’ button to realize you made a HUGE mistake? Say… send out an email to 500 people, only to realize you didn’t ‘bcc’ their address. Meaning everyone had access to the list of emails.

Ya, I did that when sending out a mass email to my readers about an event. *slap the hand*

And when I realized what I had done…I scurried to find out how to retract it. Come to find out, retracting is not a default feature like some email accounts have. And that resolutions for Gmail users only come in time for the next email to be sent out.

Let me save you the trouble of making the same mistake. Gmail has an ‘Undo Send’ feature to help you retract emails a full 30 seconds after you send a message.

Gmail Labs – Undo Send

Ever heard of Gmail Labs? It’s a testing ground for gmail features.

  • The good: lots of cool features to try.
  • The bad: they can change, break, or disappear at anytime.

While I don’t like the latter, the ‘undo send’ feature has been around for quite some time. And its even better than before. Originally, you had 5 seconds to retract a message. Personally, that is only enough time to realize one’s mistake. Now you can opt for a full 30 seconds. Keep reading to find out how to enable the Undo Send feature in Gmail.

How to Access Gmail Labs


  • Sign into your Gmail account.
  • In the top, right-hand side, click the little cog wheel symbol (options) and select ‘mail settings’.

Enable “Undo Send” and Save Changes


  • In your settings dashboard, click ‘Labs’ (approx. 8th one over)
  • Type in ‘undo send’ in the search bar or scroll down the page to find the desired lab feature.
  • Click ‘enable’ and ‘save changes’

By default, you now have 5 seconds to retract an email after you hit the ‘send’ button. Not enough time? Keep on reading.

Enable More Time to Retract an Email


Within your settings dashboard, click the ‘general’ tab. About mid-page you will find the Undo Settings section. Make sure the ‘enable’ button is ticked. Then click the dropdown button to select your desired send cancellation duration. Click the max for a full 30 seconds!

Compose Email and Hit Send


Compose your email, as usual. Hit ‘Send’ to email your recipient.

Select the “Undo” Button to Retract Your Email

Select 'Undo' to retract your email

When the message is sent, you will notice in the box above it gives you the option to “undo”. Here is your change to retract. Hurry, because if you do not retract in the time allotted, the option will disappear. Forever!

“Sending has been Undone”

sending has been undone

When you retract a message the box will now alert you, “sending has been undone”. Ah, saved!
So what’s keeping you so long? Go update your gmail account!

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About Christine McCarthy

Social Media Enthusiast, Tech Geek & Whole Foods Lovin' | Here to discuss Internet Marketing, Blogging, Social Media & Search Engine Optimization | Twitter: @christinebiz | Facebook: ChristineBiz


  1. Hi Christine

    First let me say that in addition to providing good info, your news letter looks so attractive – a fine model for us all.

    I have made some errors like yours. One was that I did some “reply all” that was not good “at all.”

    One further comment which i think keeps in the spirit of your post.

    If you find yourself riled or cranked up about a personal or business issue late at night, do not zip off emails then. Perhaps put down a couple notes and save as draft. Reconsider your words the next morning before sending. You will never regret this procedure.


    elmo adams recently posted..A For True Steampunk Sound to my mindMy Profile

    • Hi Elmo! Thank you so much for the comment on my newsletter!

      Oh, the ‘reply all’. I’ve done that before, replying to a friend, in addition to some higher ups. oops!
      And I definitely agree with your tips. Late at night… is a no-no for sending out important stuff. ;)

      BTW, I will get a hold of you by this weekend regarding the switcharoo! Sorry for the delay. Life has been a little crazy.
      Christine recently posted..Hit “Send” to soon? How to retract Gmail messagesMy Profile

  2. I’ve already got this feature installed, and it has saved my bacon more than once. You know the situation – you forward an email, and at the last minute remember that there was something in the forwarded email that the person shouldn’t be seeing. Quickly hit “unsend” and you’re good to go!
    Peter recently posted..Dave Ramsey Comments On My Post About His New House, His Debt Philosophy And GivingMy Profile

  3. Awesome tip, I had no idea!

    I’ll make sure I use this in the future! Thanks!
    Money Reasons recently posted..Is Clutter Keeping You From Being More Successful?My Profile

  4. Thanks for this useful tips. Sometimes, I wonder how can I retract an email after sending. I’ll enable this feature right now :)
    Tho Huynh recently posted..9 Surefire Tips To Become Famous On FacebookMy Profile

  5. Ohh….Thanks christine for sharing such simple but valuable tip. It was happened with me once when I was working in office and also writing a mail to a friend and I sent it early mistakenly and I was not aware of this feature….will gonna to activate it straight away.
    Sachin @Google Homepage recently posted..Best Dog Food For AllergiesMy Profile

  6. This is fabulous! I already set it up with your simple and clear instructions. Thanks so much.
    Vinobaby recently posted..Why I Deserve My Mommy Wine…And So Do YouMy Profile

  7. I’ve had a couple of times I wish I could’ve done a quick unsend. Thanks for sharing the how-to!
    Colleen recently posted..Grace in Small Things – 121My Profile

  8. I had no idea about this feature! Thank you for sharing – it will definitely come handy in my next ‘oopsy’ email moment.
    TerriAnn recently posted..RedEnvelope Gifts, $50 GC Giveaway Ends 7/10My Profile

  9. Nice tutorial. I’m always paranoid that the retraction feature won’t actually work in the various email programs, but I guess trying that is better than nothing!
    Jackie recently posted..How to Stop Spending MoneyMy Profile

  10. I’m really glad I found this article on BlogEngage, and it’s great to be connected to your blog now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent something and needed to retract the email to add more information (or take something out). I’m glad Google finally came out with this feature.

    In order to pull this off, I wonder if they have to hold the emails in limbo for a few seconds before pushing on through. Sometimes when I am in front of my computer I use Gmail almost like a chatting platform (when my gmail chat is blocked by a firewall). It would probably get annoying if there were too much of a delay in between email messages.

    Thanks for the tip, Christine!
    Will recently posted..Affiliates: Have You Heard About the California Nexus Tax?My Profile

  11. Thanks for the info; I didn’t know about it. I also found a couple of things to turn on while in the Labs area.
    Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer recently posted..Baby Boomer Downsizing and the Resell MarketMy Profile

  12. Your Article about Retract Emails in Gmail with the 'Undo Send' Feature Very great visual appeal on this internet site , I’d rate it 10 10.

  13. Ah, those pesky typos:

    Heads Up

    Hit “Send” to soon?

    Should be

    Hit “Send” too soon?
    David Bennett recently posted..New Ecards From Our Trips Around EnglandMy Profile

  14. cool. never knew this was there.

  15. Thank you for this quick tutorial. I was using outlook to send emails as it is the only way I know how to “recall” the emails I’ve sent. Now, I can do it through my browser.
    Soi recently posted..Asia’s Vacation Spots: LebanonMy Profile

  16. Christine this is awesome! Thanks!

    Embarassing emails no more! woohoo!

    youngandthrifty recently posted..youngandthrifty Book Review: The Wealthy Barber ReturnsMy Profile

  17. Joyce Shaffer says:

    Thanks so much for your helpful information. I sent an email six hours; but I can only “Undo” when I send? If so, shame on me.

  18. Thank you for this! Gmail is officially updated. I only wish that I had known about this option 15 minutes ago! Not looking forward to that email response in the morning.

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