Andrew Milich / 4.01.2022Home / Tutorials

How to recall an email in Outlook and Gmail

How can you recall an email on Outlook, Gmail, or other providers?
Message sent notification with view and undo buttons.
You’ve just sent an email and changed your mind. How can you recall it from being sent on major providers, including Outlook, Gmail, Skiff, and more?

Our reliance on email

In the business world, email has become the primary form of professional communication. It is fast, concise, and easy to use. Email is universally used to communicate with clients, customers, and colleagues. It is also a great way to stay organized and keep track of important information.Email has several advantages over other forms of communication. First, it is fast and easy to use. You can quickly send a message and get a response back in a matter of minutes. Second, email is concise. You can get your point across quickly and without having to worry about grammar or punctuation. Finally, email is a great way to stay organized. You can create folders and subfolders to keep track of different types of messages.Email is also a great way to build relationships with clients and customers. You can use it to stay in touch with them and build a rapport. In addition, email can be used to build trust and credibility. If you are responsive to customer inquiries and concerns, they will be more likely to do business with you.Furthermore, email has a wide degree of personalization and automation tools. This includes sending and receiving at your business’ website or domain names, adding custom signatures, styling, and text, and automating update or client emails that contribute to critical marketing and business goals. Overall, email is a vital tool in the business world. It is fast, easy to use, and concise. It is also a great way to stay organized and build relationships with clients and customers.However, from time to time, you may either make a mistake - or simply regret sending - an email after you’ve clicked the send button. As a result, many providers have integrated recall and undo send features, which will enable a user to unsend a recently sent email. Whether you’ve reached out to the wrong person, spotted an embarrassing typo, or accidentally shipped a particular note too early, undo and recall features are critical to set up on your email provider.

Email unsending: A history

Generally, email providers implement different feature sets and practices. For example, Gmail’s labeling system differs from Outlook’s folder system, and each email provider chooses their own user interface and feature set to implement for organizing mail. Once mail has been set to an external provider, that provider will immediately deliver it to the recipient’s inbox. Given this, there is no universal standard for how to unsend or recall emails.In contrast, some messaging providers have built in unsending as a feature. For example, on Apple’s new iOS 16 operating system for iPhones, it is possible to unsend an iMessage; Instagram also allows users to unsend direct messages sent on their platform. Messaging providers have significantly more flexibility to determine sending and unsending behavior, as they manage both the sender and recipient accounts.Email is a far more simple and decentralized protocol based on the idea of sending messages between computers. Email works by sending messages through a network of computers. When you send an email, it is first sent to a computer called a mail server. The mail server then looks up the address of the recipient and forwards the message to their computer using DNS records. The recipient's computer then stores the message in their inbox.SMTP is a protocol for sending and receiving email messages. It is a set of rules that govern how email should be formatted and transmitted. SMTP is used by email servers to send and receive email messages. Email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, use SMTP to send email messages to an email server. The email server then forwards the message to the recipient's email client.Because email is a decades old decentralized protocol for weaving messages through networks of computers, a single provider does not managing both sent items and mail in receivers’ inboxes. This translates into different implementations for unsending and recalling emails, in particular differences between how Gmail, Outlook, and Skiff choose to implement undo and recall features.

Why might you unsend an email?

We’ve put together a number of reasons why email unsending has been such a highly requested feature:You found a mistake in the original message: Finding a typo or a mistake in your email is another big motivation to recall it from a recipient’s mailbox. If you spot a typo right when an email is about to go out, you’ll have a window of a few seconds where the recall option is available. From there, if the recall succeeds, it will appear as a draft and be available to send as a completely new email. At that point, you’ll be able to fix the typo or mistake and simply send out the new note.You’ve sent to the wrong recipient: Some of the most unfortunate email disasters have happened whens ending to the wrong person, whether an email list with tens of thousands of people or a few more colleagues than intended. In these scenarios, unsending an email might save you some personal or professional embarrassment - or worse. Once the message has been converted back to a draft, you’ll be able to edit the recipients, including to, CC, and BCC recipients.You intended to schedule send the email: Many email providers, including Gmail and Skiff, now allow you to schedule send an email and defer delivery. As a result, instead of clicking send and immediately shipping an email out to the intended recipients, you may instead click “schedule send” to choose a later time for your email to be automatically delivered. On Skiff, the small clock button on the compose window opens a pop-up window with times to schedule your email. You can choose between preselected times in the drop-down menu, such as the following day, or use a calendar for more precise timing. Until the email is sent, you’ll be able to recall the original email and cancel it from being sent. To do so, simply visit the “send later” inbox and revert the message back to draft.

How to recall an email in Gmail?

Gmail offers multiple different settings for configuring undo send and recall options. Follow the below steps to enable the Gmail schedule send feature.Step 1: Visit Gmail and log in to your account.Step 2: In the top right corner, click on the Settings icon.Step 3: When the settings pop-up appears, click on See all settings.Step 4: In the General tab, scroll down to the “Undo send” section and choose your desired period of time to allow for an undo send, which can be anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds.Step 5: Finally, click on Save Changes.Step 6: To test the feature, you can now compose a message and click “send.” You’ll see an “undo” label appear. If you click this button, the email reverts to draft and can be reset to its desired recipients. This feature is also available on the Gmail mobile app.From time to time, if the recall attempt fails, or you try to recall a message too close to the time expiration date (say after 30 seconds), you may see an error message indicating that the message had already been sent. In this case, you may want to consider increasing the delay time all the way up to 30 seconds.Note that this feature is available for any email sent on Gmail, including both other Gmail recipients and any external mail users.

How to recall an email in Outlook?

Recalling a message on Outlook has a slightly higher complexity and some more optionality for how users want to configure their setup. After visiting your sent items folder, you can select a message and the “actions” drop down menu. From there, click the “recall this message” and the “delete unread copies” option inside this menu. We also recommend clicking “tell me if recall succeeds or fails for each recipient.” You will also be allowed to choose between recalling “unread copies of this message” or deleting unread copies and replacing with a new message. Outlook will warn users that some recipients may have already read the content of the email.The most important factor to note is that this will only succeed if both you and the recipient have Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft 365 email accounts. Otherwise, the recall message will fail, or the option will not be available in the first place. As a result, Gmail and Skiff unsend features are somewhat more robust and helpful as they are available for all outgoing messages, instead of those that are simply available among Outlook/Exchange users.

How to recall an email in Skiff?

Unsending an email in the Skiff mail client is simple - and we’ve also got a video tutorial to make the process even simpler. After composing a new message, adding recipients, and clicking send, you’ll see “undo” text in the bottom left corner alongside the pop up message that your email was sent.During a short period of time - currently ten seconds - you can click undo and revert your email to draft. Once clicking the “undo” text, your email delivery is cancelled, and it will go back to draft mode with the same recipients and content. As we have answered many FAQs on how email unsending works, we put together this short video tutorial that addresses how to unsend an email on Skiff. You can also check our further tutorials on our videos page. Beyond that, unsending an email should be instant and quite user friendly.


Recalling a message in the Outlookemail client is not particularly difficult but is severely limited by the constraint that both sender and recipients must be Microsoft email users. In contrast, “unsending” an email in Gmail or Skiff is significantly simpler as it introduces a short delay during which you can change your mind and unsend a message.Depending on your use cases (and risk tolerance), you can set up email unsending features to whatever professional need you may have.

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