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Mac Mail Tip - How To Undo Email Already Sent

Updated on May 26, 2011

Greatest Email Invention - The Undo Send

One of the greatest email inventions in my opinion is the Undo Send Addon for Gmail. It allows you to send an email, catch a mistake (within 30 seconds) and then send it again. Gmail actually sets a time delay before sending your email, thereby allowing you to Undo the email and correct it if needed.

This is all fine and good if you are using Gmail in you browser. But what if you want to implement the same Undo/Send Later in Mac Mail through the SMTP Gmail connection you may have setup? Fortunately there is a way to simulate this with Mac Mail ... although it is not at all as seamless as Gmail's setup.

Removing the Send button
Removing the Send button
The Mail Script pulldown
The Mail Script pulldown

The Workaround For Mac Mail

The easiest way to set this up in Mac Mail is to queue up all the mails in the Drafts folder, which will allows you to check them before sending. If you've ever used Outlook there is an Outbox to handle this for you, but in Mac Mail there is no Outbox. Once you press the Send button theres no way to stop it.

To keep Mac Mail from sending mail immediately you can simply remove the Send Button from the New Message Tool Bar. This will leave you with the Save As Draft button. Using the Save button will create a queue within the Draft folder of all your outgoing emails.

Note: To customize the New Message Toolbar, right-click on it the toolbar then choose the Customize Toolbar. Next and drag off the Send button and slide the Save As Draft button to the far left as shown in the screenshot (see image at upper right).

Additional Customizations Using A Script

To send all the queued Drafts at one time you can download a handy set of tools called Mail Scripts. It's a free set of AppleScripts to get the job done. In addition there is a script to send delayed emails at a specific time in your drafts folder. For example if you want to deliver an email to a coworker first thing in the morning 8am on the East Coast and you happen to be in the West Coast 5am - you can set it to so this automatically the day before.

Note: If your using Snow Leopard, you will need to make sure the Show Script in menu bar is checked via the AppleScript Editor | Preferences Menu (see screenshot far right). This will provide an pull down where you can have these tools handy at all times.

The Send Later / Mac Mail Alternative

As an alternative, you may want to check out Thunderbird 3 brought to you by Mozilla (the same company who created Firefox). It is a free Mail application does all this for you but much more efficiently.

There's an easy to install Thunderbird Add-on called Send Later which creates a Send Later button in the message window for you. Like the technique above for Mac Mail, it also uses the Drafts folder but automatically sends the emails out for you at the time you specify so you don't have to think about it or manually send the Drafts folder out every time. Very cool I think.

Thunderbird can also set a delay for a future event such as an early morning morning delivery or other future event. Mozilla also has some other plugins which I have found very powerful such as the Clippings add-on which allows you to save and reuse snippets of text and paste them into your emails.

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      Maira 4 years ago

      Well the information was not really informed in regards to how to recall a sent email in imail in Mac Book Pro.

      In outlook this is possible.

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      Dharmesh Shah 4 years ago

      Many Thanks for the send later feature. I am on OS X Mountain Lion and using, I literally deleted the Send Button as shown and I a happy bunny

      But my only worry is SHIFT + CMD +D still send out an email instantaneously, And I didn't use the Automator Scripts from Andreas Amann to automate sending drafts....