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How to unsend a Gmail email
I was under the impression that only the iMessages app on macOS Ventura provided the undo send feature. Well, apparently, it is becoming a “thing” everywhere. But an interesting fact I just found out, was that Gmail has had
for quite a long time! Man, I wish I had known about
in the day!
The undo send email feature
for Web was officially rolled out
in 2015, but
for six years prior to the launch, it was available
as experimental feature. Shows how much attention I was paying to Gmail intricacies at the time! Teaching others makes one much more hyper aware of what is available at one’s fingertips, so to speak! However, while it was an experimental feature, you did have to manually enable Gmail Labs in order to gain access to it.
Unsending an email in Gmail is very simple. After you send an email to someone via Gmail Web, the following appears:
When I click “Undo", the following appears:
However, what does not seem to be stated anywhere, is that the unsent email is not forever deleted, it reverts to a draft
in order to get rid
of it forever, you have to go into your Gmail “Drafts” folder and permanently
delete it there
! The unsent email appears
in the ”Drafts” folder. Something like the following:
In the early days
of the feature, you have to manually enable it
in your Gmail settings. Now, it is enabled by
default. And there is no option to turn it off. Why would you want to anyway?
default delay for unsending a Gmail email is 5 seconds. But that really does not necessarily give you time to think about whether you want to unsend the email or not! I set it to the longest period
of time possible, which is 30 seconds. In order to change the delay period, you have to click on the “Gear” icon
in your Gmail for web, and the following appears:
THEN, you have to click on “See all settings”. And the following appears:
As you can see, within the General tab, which is where you are directed to by
default, is the Unsend option. I selected “30 seconds”, but the following options are also available:
If you have set up your macOS Mail app to receive your Gmail emails, when you unsend an email there, it will also be reverted to a draft. You will have to go into your “Drafts” folder there and manually delete the draft as well.
I will also be writing a post on unsending a Gmail email on iPhone. The UX there is a bit different, and I found it especially important to increase the delay period to the max available, because otherwise, if the period is too short, like 5 seconds for example, there is a chance you don’t even see the “Undo Send” pop up appear.
Happy unsending Gmail emails!