A sent email is out of your control. There is very little that you can do to take it back. When you send an email, and it leaves your computer, it is out there in the complicated network of the web trying to reach its recipient as quickly as possible. There are only a few situations in which you can recall an email. They can be found in the sections on How to recall an email in Gmail & Microsoft Outlook.
As a wise man (Desiderius Erasmus) once said ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ so before you hit the send button, always make sure that you double check everything.
Situations in which you will want to recall an email:
- You sent an email to the wrong recipient (You wanted to send an email to your friend but sent it to your boss instead, or maybe you sent an email to a wrong client with confidential information).
- You wrote something you should not have written (You sent an angry email on the spur of the moment or used unpleasant words).
- Your email contains an embarrassing typing error (You spelled the recipient’s name wrong).
- You forgot to include an important attachment.
How to recall an email
Recalling an email is currently only possible if you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com or if your email works on the Microsoft Exchange system. In Gmail, the recall feature (if enabled) delays the sending of your email and keeps the email on hold for a few seconds, giving you time to change your mind. Same is the case with Hotmail or Outlook.com.
In the case of Microsoft Outlook, the recall feature only works if you are using the Microsoft Exchange System, and, you and the recipient are on the same exchange server (for, e.g., internal company emails). It will not work if you want to recall an email sent to a user outside your organization.
Which popular email services allow recalling an email?
- Gmail = Yes (See our tutorial on How to recall an email in Gmail)
- Hotmail/Outlook.com = Yes (See our tutorial on How to recall an email in Hotmail)
- Yahoo! Mail = No
- AOL or AIM Mail = If sent to an AOL user using the AOL interface
- Zoho Mail = No
- Mail.com = No
- Yandex = No
- Inbox.com = No
- iCloud Mail = No
- GMX Mail = No
If you are using your email on Microsoft Exchange on Outlook 2010 / 2013 / 2016, then, to recall your email, see our tutorial on How to recall an email in Outlook.
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