How to Recall an Email in Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!

If you’ve ever sent an email and then immediately wish you could recall it, you’re in the right place! It’s possible and pretty easy to recall sent emails in Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo. Your solution lies in this post.

Oct 09,2019 • Filed to: Recover & Repair Emails • Proven solutions

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Q: How Can I Recall an Email?

"Okay, so I think I just made a HUGE mistake. I sent an email by accident and I want to recall it right now! Is that even possible at all? How do I do it?"

Don't you just hate it when you sit down, type a lovely email, press the "send" button and then suddenly realize you've sent it to the wrong address? Imagine how embarrassing-or damaging-that can be. And it doesn't matter which email client you're using, be it Google, Outlook or Yahoo; as long as you send an email to the wrong recipient, trouble can ensue.

On the plus side, you can fix your blunder by recovering any email you send, and the best part is, you don't need to have any technical knowledge to do it. Just follow the simple instructions down below and hey, presto, your problem will be solved!

Part 1: Can You Unsend an Email

Here are 2 simple rules you should ALWAYS follow when sending emails. One, please proofread your emails. And two, NEVER send an email when you're angry. Why, you ask? Because you'll regret your actions afterwards. You'll send angry emails to people; you'll send important emails riddled with typos in them; you'll end up embarrassing yourself.

If you do succumb to anger or haste, there's a way to fix your error. Email clients now come with features that allow you to unsend your email. You can refer to it as the "Undo Send" setting, but you normally have to switch it on because it's turned off by default.

The developers of these email clients are well aware that people aren't as perfect or efficient as machines (some of you are just too impatient for your own good), which is why they've now added the "recall" or "unsend" feature in their various email clients. But you still have to be quick because the undo or recall option won't be there forever; it's mostly there for a specified time.

Look at this way: It's possible to retract an email simply because human error was taken into account while designing the email clients. They knew situations will definitely arise where you attach the wrong files to an email and send it. Sometimes, the error might not always be from you. If you have babies in the house, expect them to giddily smack and play around with touchscreens, all the while inadvertently sending emails to everyone in your contact list!


Part 2: How to Recall Mail in Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is an essential tool, particularly if you're running a business. With Outlook, you have several enhancements at your disposal to facilitate communication in so many ways: Attachments, signature files, backgrounds and themes; even a neat feature that allows you to see whether your email recipients are whiling away the time online. How cool is that? If you've never used Outlook before or aren't too acquainted with it, you're missing out on a lot. One of Outlook's best features is how it allows you to recall any email when you slip-up.

With that being said, recalling an email in Outlook is not exactly a straightforward affair. You have to make sure you meet some requirements, but it's nothing you can't handle. Check them out below:

Okay, once you're sure you and the sender meet these requirements, it's time to get that runaway email back!

  1. Launch "Outlook' and navigate to the "Sent Items" folder, then double-click on the target email to be called back home. This will open it in a new window.

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  1. Look up and to the left. You'll see the "Message" tab. Click it, then choose "Actions". In the dropdown menu you see, click on "Recall This Message."

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  1. The small "Recall This Message" window will give you 2 options: You can choose "Delete Unread Copies of This Message" to recall the sent email or choose "Delete Unread Copies of This Message" to replace the sent email with another one.

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  1. After making a selection, and if you want to get notified of the results, tick the "Tell Me if Recall Succeeds or Fails for Each Recipient" checkbox, then choose "OK."
  1. If you chose the other option ("Delete Unread Copies and Replace with a New Message"), make modifications to the original email and click "Send." You'll get a message from Outlook notifying you of the status of your attempt.
  1. Did you fail or succeed in replacing or retracting your email? If you followed the instructions properly, your attempt should have been successful.
  1. Oh, and by the way, the instructions you just read apply to all versions of Outlook: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019; Outlook for Office 365 as well. That saves you a lot of trouble, doesn't it? One simple tutorial that caters to all of them. Now that's great value for time!

Likely Outcomes When You Recall Outlook Email

Okay, so you've successfully recalled your email and it's now back with you, safe and sound, right? The message will obviously be just as it was when you sent it, right? Wrong! That isn't always the case. Several factors can alter the original email, so take that into consideration. Here are some of them:

It should also be pointed out that using Outlook on your phone to recall an email is really pointless because it won't work. So, there you have it.


Part 3: How to Recall Mail in Gmail?

Ahh, good old Gmail... It's easily the world's favorite browser and has made itself a necessary part of our lives. Do you doubt it? Let the numbers do the talking: Gmail has more than 900 million users; that's just a 100 million shy of making it to billion!

All this simply means a lot of emails are sent and received every day, which also means a lot of mistakes are made and emails are sent to the wrong clients. You're probably part of those making mistakes too, which is why you need to read this. Throughout this section, you'll be using the "Undo" link to retrieve any email you sent using Gmail. Read on to find out how.

Recalling Sent Email

Gmail has a nifty little feature called "Undo". You can undo just about any action you carry out thanks to it. The feature is deactivated by default, so have to manually activate it. Once you do, the feature will appear at the bottom of the Gmail when you execute certain actions. For instance, an action that entails moving messages or emails between the various folders within your Gmail. But don't dilly-dally when you want to recall an email because you're only given a 5 to 30-second window to act (thankfully, you can change this to suit your preferences).

Step 1Launch your browser, go to Gmail.com and log into your account. On the upper right section of the screen, you'll see the "Settings" icon ( a gear). Click it, then click "Settings."

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Step 2Next, choose the "General" tab. You'll see several options. Look for "Undo Send". There's going to be a dropdown menu to its right where you can select the exact number of seconds you can have to recall or undo any email you send (30 seconds is recommended). Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Save Changes."

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Step 3Now, time to recall the escapee email. The moment the email is sent, look to the bottom left and you'll see a small bar with "Undo" in it. Click it and your email will be recalled back to its original message. Another bar with "Sending undone" will pop up, confirming the action.

But in the event you don't see this confirmation alert, it's quite probable the outgoing message slipped by your sights. Check your "Sent" folder to be sure. If you do see the email in there laughing at you, then it's too late to recall it. Tough luck, slowpoke.

A quicker and alternative way to executing this function is to just press the "Z" key on your keyboard seconds after you send the email to be recalled.

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Here's a little bonus for you. Gmail's undo feature can do much more than just recall sent emails. It can also undo or reverse actions like moving an email into another folder, deleting an email, marking an email as read and sending an email. This undo thingy has got everything covered, wouldn't you agree?


Part 4: How to Recall Mail in Yahoo!

Recalling email in Yahoo is a bit of annoyance; the fact it's a great email client notwithstanding. It's even one of the veterans. But it's the only email client that decided to prove stubborn when it came to unsending or recalling emails because it has never supported the recall feature.

It wasn't until the year 2016 that Yahoo decided to acquiesce to the needs of the masses by introducing a feature in its Yahoo Mail Android and iOS apps that allowed its users to unsend emails. So, if Yahoo Mail is your preferred email client and you've been worried about sending erroneous emails, worry no more because a solution has finally been provided by Yahoo. But you'll have to resort to your mobile device because Yahoo Mail's Mac and PC counterpart still don't support this feature.

Step 1First thing's first, open up the "Yahoo Mail" app on your Android or iOS device. Don't worry about cosmetic differences; the app is quite similar on both platforms, if not exact. Yahoo Mail's default icon is colored purple, and it has a white envelope in it.

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Step 2Log into your Yahoo Mail by first tapping on "Sign in with Yahoo". The next pages will have you inputting your Yahoo Mail address and your password.

TAKE NOTE: The Yahoo Mail undo option isn't available in any Android version utilizing a 4.7-inch screen; likewise, it's not compatible with iPhone 5s and all other models below it.

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Step 3Next, tap on that little, purple pencil icon on the upper right section of your mobile device's screen.

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Step 4This step is where you type in the recipient's email address and the subject too. Make sure you input all the fields, except those that are optional. Once you're done typing the email and fields have been filled, tap "Send" at the upper right section of your screen.

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Step 5Now, this is the part where you have to be quick. The moment you tap "Send" and the email is on its way, a bar will appear at the bottom left of the screen. You will see the "Undo" button on the bar. Tap to cancel the process of sending the email but remember, you have to make haste because you only have 5 seconds to undo the email before it escapes to freedom.

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Part 5: How to Know If the Recall Is Done

Okay, now the biggest question of all: Did it work? Were you successful at recalling the email or is the recipient reading it right now and scratching his head in confusion at what you sent? The answer isn't as straightforward as you might think. A number of factors come into play here and they will ultimately determine whether you successfully recalled the email or not. For one, the settings of the email of the recipient matter too.

In Outlook, for instance, if the individual to receive the email has enabled "Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls", both the original email you sent and the recall one will be saved in his inbox. The success of the recall depends on whether the recipient has read the mail or not: The original message will be supplanted by the recall message if he has not opened and read the email first; this counts as a success. If, on the other hand, he has already read the original message by the time the recall lands, the recall message won't deliver; this is a failure then.

That's just one example. Here's another. It's possible the recipient may not have enabled "Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and polls", and if that's the case, then the original message and the recall message you sent will be saved in his inbox. If he opens the latter first, that counts as a successful recall because the original message will be deleted. But opening the original message first entails a failed recall attempt.

Are you catching on? It might sound confusing but it's really not. Another way you can ascertain a successful or failed recall attempt is if the email recipient has defined a rule. What does that mean? It just means the recipient has altered Gmail's settings so that the original and recall email would both be saved in different folders. This is a slight change, but that's still enough to make the recall fail.

Along the same vein, if the recipient of the email has stated a different rule that assigns both the original and recall email to be saved in the same folder, the success of failure of the recall depends on which of these folders are accessed first: If the recall is opened first, the original will be deleted, meaning the former was a success. If the original is accessed first, the recall will be gotten rid of and thus, fail.


Closing Words

Recalling an email you sent is a very simple thing to do, but it can save you so much trouble. Learn the process and use it if the need arises. That way, you don't have to contend with explaining yourself to angry strangers or confused friends. All the same, here's a tip: Please be more careful when sending your emails, yeah? That's simply the best advice anyone can give you.

Amy Dennis

staff Editor

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