*A Few Ways to Unsend an Email

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OK, You just crafted a wonderful email and hit “Send”, and away it went. Then you realize that it went to the wrong person, or maybe you wrote the email out of anger. Or perhaps we hit Send before it was finished, or even you didn’t take the time to proofread what you wrote.  For whatever reason, we all wish we could ‘unsend’ an email from time to time.

Here are four ways that you set up your system so that you can ‘undo’ sending your email.

Gmail  ‘Undo Send’

Google’s Gmail is a very popular email system.  It has a feature called, “Undo Send,”  Most people aren’t aware of it, but to use it, all you have to do is to just have to enable it.

In your Gmail account, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose “Settings.” On the “General” tab, scroll down and find “Undo Send.” Click the checkbox for “Enable Undo Send” and choose a cancellation period of 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds. (This is how long you have to call it back before it gets delivered.) Once you have that set, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click the “Save Changes” button.

Now when you click the “Send” button on a message, you’ll see a message appear at the top of your inbox with an “Undo” link. As long as the message is on the screen, you can click the “Undo” link and the email will reappear, ready for editing or deleting.

Browser plug-ins

Some of the newer browsers have a plug-in that helps unsend emails as well.  

If encryption is important to you, then here’s a way to get both your need to unsend or recall an email as well as encrypt its contents. For users of Chrome and Safari there is Cryptext.com .

When you enable Criptext on an email, it encrypts the message and any attachments, and gives you the option to “recall” it. You can also set messages to expire after a certain amount of time.

UnSend.it  is a service instead of a browser plug-in. This time you have to configure your email service to run through UnSend.it’s servers.

This works by turning the text of your message into an image, then sending that image on to your recipient. Because the message rests on their servers, they can delete the image and it will disappear from your recipient’s inbox.

The email is still there, but it will be blank. Unless your recipient took a screenshot and saved it, he won’t have the information.


Virtru is a free message system developed by a former NASA employee after his frustration with trying to send secure emails.  

Virtru is a plug-in for Firefox and Chrome that works with Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.com. There’s also a plug-in for Outlook 2010 and 2013.

The free version of Virtru lets you send secure messages to anyone. If the other person has Virtru, she can open the message in her regular email. Otherwise, she’ll need to get Virtru’s free Web viewer.

I’ve been using Virtru for almost two years and I find it easy to use and I feel safe sending emails through this system.

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