How to Unsend a Message: A Step-by-Step Guide


Have you ever sent a text or email that you regret moments later? Whether it’s embarrassing, unprofessional, or simply incorrect, there are times when we’d love to take back what we’ve said. Fortunately, it is possible to unsend messages to a certain extent. This article will help you understand what message recall is, how to do it, and how to prevent these situations from happening again in the future.

Understanding Message Recall

Message recall is the ability to retract or delete messages that have already been sent, typically in messaging apps or email. It is different from message delete in that it attempts to retrieve the message entirely, rather than just removing it from view.

Message recall is particularly important in situations where the message contains sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal data. It can also come in handy when a message is sent to the wrong person or contains a typo.

Step by Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to unsend messages on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram.

How to Unsend a Message on WhatsApp

To recall a message on WhatsApp:

  1. Long-press on the message you want to delete.
  2. Select “Delete” from the menu that appears.
  3. Select “Delete for Everyone.”
  4. Confirm by tapping “Delete” again.

How to Unsend a Message on Facebook Messenger

To recall a message on Facebook Messenger:

  1. Tap and hold the message you want to delete.
  2. Select “Remove” from the menu that appears.
  3. Select “Remove for Everyone.”
  4. Confirm by tapping “Remove.”

How to Unsend a Message on Telegram

To recall a message on Telegram:

  1. Long-press on the message you want to delete.
  2. Select “Delete” from the menu that appears.
  3. Select “Unsend.”

Avoid Sending Messages Altogether

Perhaps the best way to prevent the need for message recall is to double-check, proofread, and review messages before sending them. Typographical errors, misspellings, and incorrect word choices can easily be avoided by simply taking the time to proofread messages before clicking the “send” button.

Another way to avoid mistakes is to make use of auto-correct, which can help correct common errors automatically. Additionally, double-checking the recipient and context of the message can prevent sending it to the wrong person, avoiding awkward situations and the need for message recall.

Use Email Delays

A popular feature offered by email providers is an email delay, which allows senders to retract or hold email messages within a predetermined timeframe. This can come in handy if you’ve accidentally hit “send” before completing the message or need to correct something right away.

To enable email delays on Gmail:

  1. Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Gmail screen.
  2. Select “Settings” from the menu that appears.
  3. Scroll down to “Undo Send” and select the checkbox.
  4. Select a cancellation period from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click “Save Changes.”

With email delays, you have anywhere from a few seconds to 30 seconds to cancel sending an email. This can be a lifesaver in many situations.

Time-bound Recall

Some messaging apps offer a time-bound recall feature. This feature allows you to unsend messages within a given timeframe, typically between 10 to 60 minutes, after sending them. Examples of messaging apps with this feature include Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and Wesley Safadão’s WS Direct.

To unsend messages within a time-bound window:

  1. Open the message that you’d like to recall.
  2. Select “Recall This Message.”
  3. Select either “Delete Unread Copies of This Message” or “Delete Unread Copies and Replace with a New Message”.
  4. Type the replacement message if you choose the latter.
  5. Select “Ok.”

Acknowledging Mistakes

Let’s face it – we all make mistakes. When we do, it’s important to take responsibility for them and apologize. Apologizing can help establish trust, restore relationships, and promote open communication.

When apologizing, try to:

  • Be sincere and straightforward.
  • Take ownership of your mistake.
  • Offer a solution or plan to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.

Alternative Messengers

Finally, there are messaging apps that offer more advanced features for unsending messages, such as Snapchat, which allows you to delete snaps or messages permanently, and Telegram, which offers a self-destruct timer and the ability to send secret chats that delete automatically. While some of these features may come with limitations, exploring alternative messengers can offer additional convenience and peace of mind.


Knowing how to unsend a message can save you from embarrassment, mitigate the risk of sensitive information being exposed, and keep conversations professional. By using email delays, time-bound recall, and proofreading techniques, these situations can be avoided altogether. Owning up to your mistakes and apologizing appropriately can also promote healthy relationships. Finally, using alternative messengers can offer more advanced features for unsending messages, creating a more seamless messaging experience overall.

With these guidelines in mind, you can breathe a little easier the next time you hit “send” a little too quickly.

Webben Editor

Hello! I'm Webben, your guide to intriguing insights about our diverse world. I strive to share knowledge, ignite curiosity, and promote understanding across various fields. Join me on this enlightening journey as we explore and grow together.

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