Gmail 101: How to extend email cancellation

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If you’ve ever clicked the Send button in a Gmail email and regretted it ten seconds later, you know how convenient – even necessary – delayed sending can be. It could be a sudden realization that you accidentally hit “Reply to All,” or the feeling that you might have sent it to the wrong contact, or that somewhere there’s a typo – or perhaps worst, the knowledge that I just sent an angry task that you probably shouldn’t have . In all of these cases, a few seconds to stop your email can prevent your day from crashing.

(Of course, Gmail isn’t the only email app that has this capability; other apps do.)

Gmail offers a standard five-second window that lets you change your mind and cancel an email, but if you feel you need a little more time, you can arrange it. I find it valuable to give myself time to rethink my email. Even though I’ve only had to stop sending an email a few times, those few times probably saved me at least from having to send an apology.

To set it up with the online version of Gmail:

  • Click on the “Settings” gear in the upper right corner and “Show all settings”.
  • On the General tab, locate Unsubscribe.
  • Choose how long you want Gmail to let you change your mind: you can choose from five seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 30 seconds.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘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 Send, you’ll see the Undo your email option in the lower-left corner, which lasts as long as you’ve set it up. it will also be available in the mobile app. If you wish, you can click “Cancel” and you will be returned to the draft email.

Use the Undo link in the lower left corner to restore your unsent emails.

Use the Undo link in the lower left corner to restore your unsent emails.

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