I tend to type faster than I think sometimes, especially when it comes to politics, and I really need to cancel sending a few messages. Is there any sort of “unsend” feature in Gmail email? If so, how do I use it?
There used to be a feature in Gmail known as “Goggles” – though it really was beer goggles – that would automatically delay sending your email messages for hours so you could rethink and potentially recant the decision. That’s gone away, however, replaced by two other features that don’t quite offer the same set of capabilities but can still help you if you click Send and then immediately regret that decision. Possibly even in the Ron Burgundy sense!
The first feature is the send scheduler, which should be available for each and every email message you send from Gmail. If you’ve been looking closely at the interface, one day the “Send” button suddenly had a little triangle adjacent; turns out that lets you choose to schedule when you want that particular email message to be sent. If I’m up at 2:00am working, I’ll often use that feature to schedule the messages to actually be sent at 8:00am or some other “more normal” working time. 🙂
The more interesting option allows you to have a 5-30 second delay on sending email without having to think about it. In fact, you always have a 5 second delay, you might just not have realized it (and to be fair, five seconds is a pretty short amount of time!). As an example, here’s an email I’m poised to send:
First off, have a close look at the blue “Send” button. See what I mean about the downward triangle? Click on it and you can schedule out when your email should be sent, even if that’s days down the road. In fact, I have an entire article on How to Work with The Gmail Scheduler if you’re curious.
But let’s forget about that and instead just assume I said “Booyah! Let’s do it!” and clicked on “Send”.
Then immediately said “OMG! What the heck am I talking about? Let’s think this through, buddy-boy!” and panicked. Meanwhile, this is what I’d see on the screen:
How long will that stay on screen? That’s what you can adjust from 5-30 seconds. Change it to 30 seconds and you actually have a moment or two to contemplate if it’s exactly what you wanted to send or change your mind entirely.
Not such a good email message? Click on “Undo” then you’ll see:
Then, just for a brief flash of time:
And you’ll be back, looking at your email message and deciding if you want to rephrase it or delete it. PHEW!
To maximize the undo duration, go to Settings off the gear menu icon…
Then scroll down on the General settings page to find this:
When you’ve set it as you prefer, make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this settings page to save your changes. And that’s it. Done. Now you have at least a 30 second period during which you can regret your email and unsend it. Darn handy.
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about Gmail since you had to beg for an invitation to use it. Which means I have a lot of Gmail help pages here on the site. Please do check ’em out while you’re visiting. Thanks.