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Gmail 101: How to increase the time you have to unsend an email

Clicking on ‘Undo’ can save you from a lot of grief

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If you’ve ever hit “Send” on a Gmail email and regretted it ten seconds later, you’ll know how handy — even necessary — a delayed send function can be. It could be the sudden realization that you accidentally hit “Reply all,” or a feeling that you may have sent it to the wrong contact, or that there is a misspelling somewhere in there — or, perhaps worst of all, the knowledge that you just sent off an angry missive that you probably shouldn’t have. In any of these cases, a few seconds to stop that email could keep your day from imploding.

(Gmail, of course, isn’t the only email app with this ability; other apps offer it as well.)

Gmail offers a standard five-second window to allow you to change your mind and unsend the email, but if you feel that you need a little more time, you can arrange it. I find it valuable to allow myself a longer time to rethink an email; while I’ve only had to stop an email from going out a few times, those few times probably saved me from, at the very least, having to send out an apologetic follow-up.

You set it up using the web version of Gmail:

  • Click on the “Settings” cogwheel in the upper right corner, and on “See all settings.”
  • Under the “General” tab, look for “Undo Send.”
  • Choose how long you’d like Gmail to give you to change your mind: you can select five seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 30 seconds.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Save Changes.”
You can have up to 30 seconds to change your mind.
You can have up to 30 seconds to change your mind.

When you click on send, you’ll see an option in the lower left corner to “Undo” your email that will last as long as you’ve set it to; it will also be available in the mobile app. If you want, you can click on “Undo” and you’ll be brought back to your email draft.

The “Undo” link at the bottom left will let you bring back your email, unsent.
The “Undo” link at the bottom left will let you bring back your email, unsent.