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The Best Way to Unsend Email


Who hasn’t been there? You click send on an email and have second thoughts. Did I spell Karyn correctly? Should I have worded that request differently? Oh no...I just emailed the wrong Jake Peterson. When these emails involve important business conversations or introductions, the stakes are high.

How can you unsend an email before the damage is done? Luckily you have some choices. For example, there are plug-ins you can use. Virtru and Criptext, among others, allow you to unsend email by denying access to encrypted content. The email doesn’t disappear, but once the unsend feature is deployed, the message field appears blank. Very James Bond.

But why layer an imperfect solution on top of an email system that doesn’t offer the functionality your small business really needs? Wouldn’t it make sense to have the unsend capability resident within your email?

Read on to discover how to unsend an email.  


SwiftEmail has the most straightforward unsend function on the market. In times of panic, you don't want to have to think. After sending a message with SwiftEmail, a pop up will appear giving you the option to unsend. It's that simple.


Microsoft Outlook

Who hasn’t heard of Microsoft Outlook, the email of choice for many of the world's largest corporations? Users can be frustrated, though, the first time they try to use Outlook’s unsend functionality. Yes, the program does allow you to unsend email. But only if the stars align perfectly:

  • You must be using the Microsoft Exchange server;
  • Your email must have been sent within the same organization using the Outlook desktop app or Office 365;
  • The message must not have been opened;
  • The message must have reached the recipient’s inbox. If the recipient has applied a filter that puts your email elsewhere, it cannot be recalled.

In order for unsend to work, you must meet all four of these conditions. Which is no help when you’ve sent a huge gaffe of an email to one of your most important clients. 

The unsend process is multi-step, requiring you to select the sent item, then access the Messages tab, then Actions, and then click the Recall This Message button. Meanwhile, your colleague may have already opened the message. There’s another catch, though. If you select the option to replace the email rather than just delete it, your original message isn’t immediately deleted on the Exchange Server. It will only be deleted if the recipient opens your replacement email first.

No matter what, the recipient receives an email notifying them that there was a recall attempt and telling them not to open the recalled message if it happens to reach them. Plain old human curiosity will have them opening the email straightaway.

Get More Business With Business Email


Gmail has a much simpler unsend email function. If you have an older version of Gmail, prior to 2019, you must first set up the “Undo Send” function in Settings and remember to save it. The default setting has unsend messages disabled. So, if you, like most people, didn’t bother to enter the setting, you’ll never see the option to revoke the message. If you have properly entered the setting, a message will pop up when you hit send. At that point, if you haven’t already navigated away from the screen, you have just 30 seconds to change your mind, depending on the amount of time you select in Settings.

Since the delay happens before the message hits another server, this function works for any email account, whether or not the recipient uses Gmail.

The Best Unsend Email Option

Your email’s unsend function can help your business look its professional best. But even your most well-crafted message can come across as amateurish when you send it through a non-professional domain. It makes good business sense, especially for small companies, to establish legitimacy through every email message sent.

While free email accounts can meet your rudimentary needs for personal email, a viable small business, needs more. Your business shouldn’t be limited by what your email system can or cannot do. Check out SwiftEmail to see how easy it is to have the functionality you need.

Get started on business email for free!


Business Email