How to Unsend Email Before It's Too Late
Have you ever fired off an email only to regret sending it just moments after? From messages with typos and spelling errors to messages sent to the wrong person or those with words better left unsaid, the ability to undo "send" tops the wish list of many email users. If you use Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, you can now act on those second thoughts and retrieve a message before it leaves your inbox. But if you use another email service provider, you're out of luck.
Google's Gmail launched an unsend function last spring. Criticized for only providing a five second window, Google last week added time options up to 30 seconds. You will find the unsend feature in Google Labs, the company's place for features currently in development. Open your Gmail page, find the green lab beaker icon in the upper right hand corner, and click to access Labs. Scroll through the list until you find Undo Send and click the radio button to enable it and save your change. Return to your Gmail homepage.
By default, Gmail gives you a 10-second window of time to undo a sent e-mail. You can change that to five, 20 or 30 seconds by going to Settings in the top right corner of your Gmail page, next to the Labs icon and finding the Undo Send section under the "General" tab.
Now every time you send an email, along with a line that reads, "Your message has been sent," you'll have an "Undo" button. Click within the allotted time to unsend an email. You will then see a message in the same area that confirms sending has been undone. Your email will be saved as a draft to revise or delete.
In Outlook, go to the Tools menu and select Rules and Alerts. Click "New Rule …" and choose "Check messages after sending" located in the "Start from a blank rule" section. Click "Next>" twice or until you reach the Select action(s) page. Check the box "defer delivery by a number of minutes" which will activate the edit box where you will click on the underlined "a number of." Now you may specify from one to 120 minutes. Click "Next" to go to a page where you may choose any exceptions to the rule. For instance, you may want emails marked as important to not be subject to a delay. Go to the next screen and name your rule. Select "Finish" and return to your Outlook page.
From now on, whenever you write an email, there will be a delay before the message is sent. Outlook has created an outbox where the message will be stored during the delay period. You will find the outbox in mail folders under All Mail Items. Open the outbox, select the email and either save it as a draft or delete it by opening the Office button located in the upper left corner of the message window.
Windows Live and Hotmail
Windows Live Hotmail is the current name for Microsoft's free email service. It's an aggregation of the company's various past services, so if you have a hotmail.com , msn.com or live.com email account, this section is for you. Microsoft launched an updated version of its service in June. There is no longer a "send later" option. Your only option is to save as a draft.
Up until January of this year, AOL offered a limited unsend option between AOL account holders, but its unsend mail feature has been completely removed from AOL mail because it prevented AOL from achieving the best product performance, according to an AOL customer service representative. Further, there is no option to delay the delivery of the email. If you're unsure about an email, save it as a draft and come back to it later.
There is no chance of retrieving an email on Yahoo mail. Like AOL, once you hit send, it's gone.
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