4 min read

Back to basics: How to recall an email

We've all been there – that moment of panic when you realize you've sent an email to the wrong recipient or included incorrect information. Thankfully, the ability to recall an email exists, although, in most popular email clients, it isn't foolproof.

How to recall an email

If you've sent an email in haste or with errors, acting quickly is crucial. Most email clients, including Gmail, Yahoo and M365, offer a recall feature. It is simply a case of locating the "Undo" or "Recall" option as quickly as possible after sending - although most email clients  tend to only enable recall for a few seconds.

Also bear in mind that conventional email recall functionality largely hinges on the recipient's actions. Generally, the recipient receives a pop-up notifying them of the sender's intent to retract the message. Success relies on the recipient's compliance – if the email has been read or moved, or the recipient doesn't accept the recall, recall cannot be relied on. Unfortunately, in many cases, a pop up notifying the recipient to your intention to recall can inadvertently increase the likelihood of their opening the email. If the mistakenly sent email includes sensitive data, it is likely a reportable data incident has occurred. 

How to recall an email in Outlook:

  • Open your "Sent Items" folder

  • Double-click on the email you wish to recall

  • Open the "Message" tab

  • Choose "Actions" 

  • Click "Recall This Message." You can opt to delete unread copies of the email or replace it with a corrected version.

Just like with normal email clients, the success of recalling an email in Outlook is heavily reliant on the recipient. If the recipient has already opened or moved the email, or does not agree with the revocation, the message will not be recalled.

Recall you can rely on

So, while traditional email recall methods can be useful, they have limitations. This is why organizations are increasingly turning to specialized email data protection solutions, like Zivver, to prevent email security incidents.

Zivver not only enables recall with unlimited time limits. Our advanced security features empower employees to manage sensitive data before, during, and after sending:

  1. Enhanced recall functionality: Users can recall emails without time limits and without requiring recipient acknowledgment. If the email is recalled prior to it being opened, users can guarantee a data leak has been avoided.  
  2. Insight into read status and file access: Users can view the read status of emails and their attachments. This functionality is crucial for preventing data leaks and gauging the potential impact of a mistake.
  3. Identifying potential risks: Users can identify recipients who have accessed emails containing sensitive information, empowering swift action to prevent data breaches.

With traditional email clients, the effectiveness of recall depends on the recipient's actions and timing. When sensitive data is at stake, organizations need to consider intuitive email security solutions designed to empower employees to truly control the sensitive data they are sharing, every day. With access to insights into the status of every email sent, and the ability to identify potential risks, organizations can control and often avoid major data incidents. 

Find out how we’re empowering over 8000 organizations globally to control sensitive data with advanced security functionality.

First published -
Last updated - 01/09/23
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