Send a Gmail email by mistake? Quick, grab it back!

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Have you ever had that sick feeling, right after you click the “Send” button on an email… when you immediately wish you had not sent that message?  It might be an angry or impulsive response to your boss, your spouse, or a friend – but as soon as you sent it, you wish you could take it back.  Well, if you use to send and receive your emails, there is a way to snatch that unfortunate message back so that no one ever sees it – but you have to be quick.

Gmail email


Couple of things to keep in mind if you want to use this.  This only applies to Gmail (one more good reason to use Gmail), and it only applies if you use the Gmail website (  This means that if you use Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or some other email software to access your Gmail account, this trick is not available to you.

In order to take advantage of this feature, you have to enable it ahead of time.  Here’s how:

1. Go to and sign in to your email account, then click on the Gear icon in the top right.  In the menu that appears, click on Settings.

Gmail settings

2. In the next window, you will see all the various categories for your Gmail settings.  You want to click on the one called “Labs”:

Gmail labs

(Gmail Labs is sort of a place where Google plays around with different new features that may someday get added to the Gmail program permanently.  You can scroll down and see what they are offering, and you can click and install any of them to play around with it and see if you want to use it.  Keep in mind that these are all in beta, so they will probably work okay most of the time but might come up with errors or problems sometimes.)

3. Look down the list of features, and you will see one called “Undo Send”:

Gmail undo send

4. Out at the right side, next to the description, click on the “Enable” option and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Save changes”.

This is something you might want experiment with just to be sure you know how it works.  It’s pretty easy though.  When you click send, you will see a link at the top of the window that says “Undo” – if you can click on that link, you can grab back that email.

So now you’re ready.  But remember – in order to actually grab back an email that you shouldn’t have sent, you have to be quick about it because you only have 30 seconds after you hit the Send button.  After that, consider it sent!

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