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How to delete an email you sent [Step-by-step instructions]

How to delete an email you sent [Step-by-step instructions]

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One thing that almost all of us have done — and regretted — was send a message that we didn’t mean to.

Perhaps that email you sent was intended for someone else, or you left off a key bit of information and you dread sending a clarifying email to the busy CEO.

There will almost certainly be a time when you’ll want to be able to delete an email that you already hit “Send” on. 

<a href="#deleting-vs-recalling-an-email" class="anchor-link">Deleting vs recalling an email</a>

  • <a href="#deleting-emails" class="anchor-link">Deleting emails</a>
  • <a href="#recalling-emails" class="anchor-link">Recalling emails</a>

<a href="#how-to-recall-or-delete-an-email" class="anchor-link">How to recall or delete an email</a>

  • <a href="#gmail" class="anchor-link">Gmail</a>
  • <a href="#microsoft-outlook" class="anchor-link">Microsoft Outlook</a>
  • <a href="#apple-mail" class="anchor-link">Apple Mail</a>
  • <a href="#yahoo-mail" class="anchor-link">Yahoo Mail</a>

<a href="#how-to-handle-an-accidental-email-send" class="anchor-link">How to handle an accidental email send</a>

  • <a href="#send-a-clarifying-message" class="anchor-link">Send a clarifying message</a>
  • <a href="#apologize" class="anchor-link">Apologize</a>
  • <a href="#set-up-delayed-send" class="anchor-link">Set up delayed send</a>
  • <a href="#be-more-vigilant-before-sending" class="anchor-link">Be more vigilant before sending</a>

<a href="#how-to-mass-delete-sent-messages" class="anchor-link">How to mass-delete sent messages</a>

<a href="#recall-or-delete-email-access-with-streak" class="anchor-link">Recall or delete email access with Streak</a>

  • <a href="#share-emails-and-manage-permissions-in-streak-pipelines" class="anchor-link">Share emails and manage permissions in Streak pipelines</a>
  • <a href="#create-a-link-to-a-view-only-email" class="anchor-link">Create a link to a view-only email</a>

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="deleting-vs-recalling-an-email" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Deleting vs recalling an email

After firing off an email that you wish you hadn’t, you only have one real option: recalling the message.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="deleting-emails" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Deleting emails

Deleting an email in your “Sent” folder only deletes the copy on your end. Once an email has passed through cyberspace and hit your recipient's inbox, you’re out of luck (Microsoft Outlook is an exception if certain factors are met — more on that later).

Emails are sent through a variety of servers which make copies of your email along the way. This helps ensure deliverability, which is a nice thing to have — most of the time. Deleting messages from your “Sent” folder is only deleting one of many copies, meaning your recipient is still going to see it.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="recalling-emails" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Recalling emails

In recent years, some email service providers have added a “recall” feature. This lifesaving function gives you a small window where you can change your mind.

For example, when you send a message in Gmail, this small graphic pops up:

A screenshot of a smaill pop-up window graphic that shows at the bottom left corner of the screen right after you have sent an email in Gmail

You have to act fast though, as email platforms only allow a limited window (e.g., 30 seconds) to recall your message.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="how-to-recall-or-delete-an-email" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to recall or delete an email

Each email service provider has their own functionality for recalling or deleting a message.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="gmail" class="anchor-target"></div></div>


Recall sent messages

As shown in the previous graphic, a small window will pop up in the bottom-left corner of your screen. To recall the mail, simply click “Undo.” 

Gmail’s default time window is a paltry 5 seconds, but you can change this by clicking “Settings” and then “See all settings.” Next to “Undo Send” you can change the cancellation period to be up to 30 seconds.

A screenshot of the Gmail Settings for the Send cancellation period where you can adjust Gmail's Undo Send default time window from 5 seconds to up to 30 seconds

Delete sent messages

While this won’t keep the recipient from seeing your sent message, deleting them can help keep your inbox more manageable. 

For Gmail, you’ll first click “Sent” in the left-hand sidebar. Now, you can click on the small box next to each message and then click on the trash icon to delete them.

For mobile, first tap on the 3 horizontal lines in the search bar, tap the sender’s profile image, and then the trash icon.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="microsoft-outlook" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Microsoft Outlook

Recall sent messages

Outlook does things a bit differently than the other email service providers, as you can recall a message that has already hit the recipient’s inbox.

Here are the steps to recall a message in Outlook:

  1. Go to the “Sent Items” Folder
  2. Select “File” and then “Info”
  3. Choose “Message Resend and Recall” and then “Recall This Message…”

At this point, you can choose to recall the message entirely or replace the message in the recipient’s inbox.

However, Microsoft Outlook has a few limitations when using the recall feature:

  • You and the recipient must both be using Outlook
  • Both must belong to the same organization
  • The message must be unread
  • The email must be recalled within 120 minutes

Even if you meet all of those requirements, the recipient may still have seen the unread message or received an alert and seen a preview. 

Delete sent messages

To delete messages in Outlook, navigate to your “Sent” emails folder, click on the emails that you would like to delete, and press “Delete.”

You can also quickly select all emails on your screen using Ctrl + A. Then you can either press “Delete” or right-click for more options.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="apple-mail" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Apple Mail

Recall sent messages

Apple Mail keeps things simple: once you’ve sent an email, you have 10 seconds to change your mind. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll find a small prompt that says “Undo Send.”

Delete sent messages

To delete these messages on a Mac, you’ll navigate to your “Sent” folders, where you’ll find a copy of every email that you’ve sent out. Next, select the messages you wish to delete, and then hit the trash icon. 

On mobile, swipe left and you’ll see an option to choose “Trash” from the menu.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="yahoo-mail" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Yahoo Mail

Recall sent messages

Unfortunately, Yahoo Mail does not allow users to recall an email. Perhaps it’s time to switch to a different platform if this is a feature that you value.

Delete sent messages

Once logged in, click “Sent” on the left-hand side. Then, you’ll be able to click the checkbox next to every message that you wish to delete. Click “Delete.”

In mobile, open your folders by clicking on the “Inbox” button at the bottom. Find your “Sent” folder. From here, you can tap and hold an email, and then tap the trash icon.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="how-to-handle-an-accidental-email-send" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to handle an accidental email send

Let’s say that you were unable to recall the email that you sent. How do you go about making things right?

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="send-a-clarifying-message" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Send a clarifying message

In the simplest situations where you forget a piece of information, your only real option is to send a follow-up email.

If you forgot to include an attachment, a Zoom link, a date, or something else important, the recipient won’t begrudge you sending a second email. In most situations, this isn’t something to fret about.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="apologize" class="anchor-target"></div></div>


In the worst-case scenario, you’ve sent a message that has offended or harmed someone. For example, perhaps you sent a negative complaint about an employee to the employee rather than to HR, or you sent a gossipy message to the person the message was about.

In a case such as this, a sincere apology will be the painful medicine you have to take to keep your relationship from souring.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="set-up-delayed-send" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Set up delayed send

Some email service providers allow you to delay your sends. For example, Gmail allows you to schedule your emails:

A screenshot of the Gmail Send button with the toolbar icons located below the Gmail Compose window where you can have the option to Schedule send after clicking the small arrow at the right corner of the Send button

If you’re sending a sensitive message, perhaps scheduling the email out 15 minutes can give you the peace of mind that you’ve got everything right.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="be-more-vigilant-before-sending" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Be more vigilant before sending

Before sending, run through a quick mental checklist:

  1. Am I sending it to the right recipient?
  2. Have I proofread properly? Install Grammarly if this is an ongoing issue for you.
  3. Have I attached or included all the important details? Email platforms like Gmail will often remind you if you say “attached” but don’t include a file.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="how-to-mass-delete-sent-messages" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to mass-delete sent messages

While the exact steps differ for each email service provider, the process is roughly the same. If you’d like to delete messages from your “Sent” folder, you’ll first need to navigate there.

Then, there are usually a few options to select all emails rather than clicking on every message. Some inboxes allow you to press Ctrl + A to highlight every message. Others, such as Gmail, allow you to select emails in bulk using a menu at the top of the email list. You can

A screenshot of the dropdown menu that appears after clicking the arrow of the small box at the top left corner of the Sent email messages

From here, most inboxes allow you to click on a trash icon, but you can usually just click “Delete” to get rid of them.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="recall-or-delete-email-access-with-streak" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Recall or delete email access with Streak

With Streak, you can share emails rather than having to deal with endless forwards and CCs. You get to decide exactly who sees these emails and participates in a thread — and remove access to anyone who isn’t supposed to be seeing it.

Streak has two options for sharing emails and controlling email sharing permissions. 

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="share-emails-and-manage-permissions-in-streak-pipelines" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Share emails and manage permissions in Streak pipelines

With Streak’s CRM in Gmail, you can collaborate in pipelines and share emails with your team. This helps your team work together on deals, follow up with leads, and gain context on past conversations. 

Need to keep an email to yourself? Just remove it from the pipeline.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="create-a-link-to-a-view-only-email" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Create a link to a view-only email

If you’re not ready for a full CRM or need to share emails outside of your team, you can use Streak Share to create view-only links to your emails. Anybody with the link will have a real time view of the email thread, including responses that are sent after you create the link.

If you change your mind, revoke access to the email to immediately stop sharing it via the link.

Download Streak Share for free today!

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