We have all faced that moment when we’ve regretted sending out an email to someone. In the rush of a hectic day or an impulsive mood, it’s possible that we’ve made an error of judgment. It may be very awkward and may even come at a great price. Now our only thought is how to delete the message or, rather, recall it. We might even want to replace it with something else. Everyone has been in this situation at one point or another. It’s a sticky situation, but the good news is, you can undo your mistakes. On some of the most popular web email portals like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo, it is possible to find a ready solution to this problem. You need to get the email you sent back first and then delete the email you sent.
There are different ways for an email to become “unsent.” The way to do this largely depends on which email facility you are using.
“Unsending” an Email in Gmail
If you’ve sent an email via Gmail and realized that you want to retract it, you must quickly notice the tiny window located in the left corner at the bottom. At first glance, you may not see it, but it is there on your browser screen. There is an “undo” displayed. You need to click on that in about sixty seconds flat. This works on a set timer, and unless you set it for longer beforehand, sixty seconds is the default time.
Note that once an email has been sent, it can only be unsent or recalled as long as the “undo” pop-up still shows on the screen. Once that pop-up is gone, it’s lost forever.
When you start using your Gmail account to send emails, you need to go to “settings” and click the general tab. You will see a cog icon that needs to be clicked to set this function in motion.
Once the email comes back, you can edit it and send it again or delete an email you sent and send a new one. You can click on “edit“ or “delete“, respectively.
Unsending an Email in Microsoft Outlook
Outlook has a convenient function called Message Recall. With this, you can get back a message that you sent from the recipient’s mailbox, provided they haven’t opened it. Another thing you can do, is replace your initial message with a substitute message. For instance, you may have forgotten to include an attachment or some other detail.
The Message Recall function is readily available after you click on “send”. You must note that, for this function to work, both you and the recipient must have Microsoft email accounts – either Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Exchange. Note that this is for users of organizations.
Specific tips on how to delete an email you sent for Microsoft account users are as follows:
- On the left side of the Microsoft Outlook window, in the folder window pane, select the folder that says “sent items”.
- Then you need to open the message that you wish to get back. Double-click to open the email to be recalled.
- Go to the Message tab, and in Actions, choose “Recall Message”.
- Note that if you don’t see the option that allows you to recall the message, you may not have a Microsoft Exchange account at all. It’s also possible that your company doesn’t have this.
- If yan information protection aspect like Azure protects your email you cannot recall a sent email.
- You can’t retrieve a message in Microsoft Outlook on the internet.
- Assuming that the email has been successfully recalled, you can click on the command option that says “Delete Unread Copies of this Message”. The message will get deleted.
- If tthe recipient has read the email you sent you can still recall it and send a replacement. In this case, though, the recipient will get the original and the replacement.
For users of Yahoo Mail, it is not possible to recall an email you have sent. Nonetheless, you can save a draft of your email before actually hitting “send”. This lets you go back and edit the content you composed. This is a way to ensure you don’t make any untoward or hasty errors before sending out the message.
An independent email client There is one way to recall emails. If you install an “email client”, a device that lets you retrieve any email, you can easily take care of any email function. Though Gmail gives you sixty seconds to change your mind and “unsend” your email, Yahoo does not. Microsoft Outlook users may get the sent message back, but the original one goes to the recipient anyway. With an email client that is installed in your computer, no matter what email account you have, you get an opportunity to “unsend” your emails, within a time limit. This is a good option to explore.