When Gmail recently announced its “new” Undo Send feature, the email-sending masses let out a collective sigh. After all, who hasn’t replied all on an email meant for one person, or worse — typed up a message they didn’t mean to send, and then reflexively hit “Send”?
Of course, this feature is only “new” to those who haven’t already searched how to recall an email in Gmail. For years, recalling an email using Undo Send was possible — you just had to go through Google Labs to do it. It was only one extra step, but unless you looked for it, you might not have known about it.
Now, the Undo Send feature is baked right into your Gmail settings. Click on the gear icon in the top right corner of your inbox, ensure that the “Enable Undo Send” button is checked and then select “30 seconds” from the dropdown menu. This is the amount of time Gmail gives you to recall your message after you hit “Send.” You can also select intervals of 5, 10 or 20 seconds, though we’re not sure why you would.
(Note: if you use Google Apps for Work (now known as G Suite), you still need to access Undo Send through Google Labs, as the feature isn’t live for G Suite just yet.)
Wait, I Only Have 30 Seconds?
Recalling an email in only half a minute’s time requires some quick reflexes. If your Internet connection is slow, or if you’re stalled by a sense of panic, that timeframe might be a bit aggressive. In essence, Gmail’s Undo Send feature isn’t really a method of recalling an email, but of delaying the process of sending it by 5-30 seconds.
That’s great if you’re quick on the draw, but most of us have had the experience of sending an email we shouldn’t have, and only realizing it five minutes later. Maybe the recipient is tied up in a conference call, or even on vacation — surely there can be hope, right? With Gmail’s Undo Send feature, not so much. You need to be on it.
And let’s face it: if we were always that on the ball, we probably wouldn’t mistakenly send those emails in the first place.
Luckily, Undo Send isn’t your only option. If you really want to learn how to recall an email in Gmail, not just delay future sends, there’s Virtru.
How to Recall an Email in Gmail After Your Time Has Passed
Undo Send is definitely a useful feature, but if you want maximum control over your inbox, you’re going to have to look outside of Google — at least for now. Virtru is a simple browser add-on that integrates with the email client you’re already using. Any secure message you send with Virtru can be revoked at any time.
First you’ll have to add the Virtru Pro extension on your browser and ensure it’s activated for your email account. From there, you’ll be able to recall any secure email sent using Virtru at any time, even after it’s been opened. Unlike using Undo Send to recall an email in Gmail, there’s no time limit in Virtru. You can send the email, go to lunch (or even go on vacation), come back and revoke access.
To revoke access on an email you’ve sent with Virtru, go to your Sent folder, find the secure email you’d like to revoke, open it and click on the red hand button to instantly revoke.
Once the revoke button is clicked, this is what you will see on your side.
This is what your recipient will see when they try to open the message:
If for any reason you change your mind, re-activating the message is easy. Go to your Sent folder, find the revoked message and click on the blue button to reauthorize:
But what if your recipient has already read the email? Short of a time machine, you can’t undo damage already done, but you can control it by preventing rereading and forwarding just a couple of additional features included in Virtru Pro.
Virtru Pro: Ultimate Control Over Your Inbox
When using Virtru Pro, you can fully control all aspects of any secure email sent using the system — both before and after you send it. This ranges from message encryption to recalling a Virtru secure message you’ve already sent. Virtru also works within G Suite for your business.
Client-Side Email Encryption
We really mean it when we say it stays between you two: Virtru’s client-side email encryption renders your email message and attachments unreadable to anyone except the intended recipient. So not only are you getting greater control of your email, but you’re also protecting it from cybercriminals, data miners and anyone you don’t want peering at your data.
If you’re interested in recalling an email in Outlook, or another web client, Virtru Pro can come through for you. After all, Gmail’s not the only game in town, and we think that recalling an email and enjoying added privacy and security are features everyone should enjoy, regardless of their email provider.
Virtru Pro protects your secure messages in advance by allowing you to see and control where messages are forwarded. Disabling forwarding on your secure messages can be done in a single click.
Virtru Pro also allows you to set expiration dates for your email. You can add an expiration date and time to an email, or expire an email that has already been sent, and recipients will not be able to access the content after that time has passed. Virtru emails can be given expiration dates as close or as far in the future as the sender wants and we give people the ability to move expiration dates even after an email is sent.
Forwarding and expiration controls, can be set prior to sending your secure email, and can be changed, added or disabled even after you hit send (from your Sent folder):
If you’re looking for the most full-featured, easy-to-use method of recalling an email in Gmail, or simply want more privacy and control over your inbox, download Virtru Pro today.