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Stop a Gmail Email Message Sent to a Wrong Person

At times, you wish if you could stop and pull your Gmail email back!
Samyak Lalit | June 18, 2014 (Last update: September 23, 2017)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

Oh no! I didn’t mean to send this email!!!

But you’ve sent it! And now you must be wondering whether you can pull your email back that you just sent from your Gmail account?

Gmail is perhaps the most widely use free Internet email service. And if you ask me, it is certainly the best among the lot. It provides so many innovative features (like ever growing storage) that I wonder why some people are still using other email clients! Doesn’t matter what you wish for, usually Google rolls out that Gmail feature before long.

One of the great things about online communication is that it takes place at lightning speed. But the same great thing may turns into a nightmare if you happen to send a message to wrong person. And sometimes the recipient is correct but message sent was not something that you really wanted to send.

For example, on a bad day in office, you are angry on your boss. You come home, get drunk and shoot off a strongly worded letter from your Gmail account to your boss. Most likely, you’ll regret sending such a message after pressing the SEND button.

At times, you wish if you could stop and pull your Gmail email back!

At times, you wish if you could stop and pull your Gmail email back!

Now the question is whether you can stop a Gmail email after pressing the send button?

Yes, you can stop a Gmail email message from getting delivered to the receiving email address! But you’ll get only 5 seconds after pressing the send button to decide whether you want to pull the email back. If you miss this small window; you can only pray that your boss doesn’t fire you!

Let’s see how to go about setting up Gmail.

Gmail has something called Labs -where folks develop new features and release them for test purpose. Labs contain features are are not part of standard Gmail —but can be incorporated by users into their accounts.

Log into your Gmail account.

Click on the wheel icon in top-right corner and select Settings

On Settings page, click on the Labs tab.

Scroll down the list of available features and locate Undo Send feature.

Enable the Undo Send feature.

And you’re done!

From now on, Gmail will give you option to change your mind after you send a message. Gmail will wait for few (about five) seconds before it will actually dispatch the email to receiver.

You can hit the Undo link in case you realize that you’ve made a mistake in sending the message. The email will be stopped. But if you do not undo and time window of five seconds will expire, the email will begin its journey towards the receiver. Then you have no way to call it back.

Personally, I recommend this feature. It doesn’t really do any harm if your message will be late by five seconds. But these five seconds can sometime save you from big troubles. Google gives you the option of undoing the send action. I guess it should also add an option to send a particular email immediately.


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