Knowledgebase: Email
Email: Recalling an Email Message Sent Accidentally
Updated: 08 November 2019 09:41 AM

Can I recall or delete an email message I sent to the wrong person, people, or distribution list?

 

In certain circumstances and under the right conditions, you can recall a message sent accidentally. There are many limitations as outlined below, which very often do not result in a true recall of the message from all recipients.

When in this situation, consider sending another message to the original incorrect recipients informing them of the error and apologising for the error.

Message recall is highly dependent on the mail client used at the sending and receiving ends. 

Microsoft Outlook for Windows Yes, with limitations (noted below)
Microsoft Outlook for Mac No
Microsoft Exchange Online (Outlook on the Web) No, alternative feature available (noted below)
Microsoft Outlook for iOS or Android No
Other mail clients No

 

Message recall in Microsoft Outlook for Windows:

It is possible to recall a message when using Outlook for Windows, with some important and significant limitations:

  • Messages can only be recalled from other OCAD U 365 users (faculty and staff), not external accounts or student accounts.
  • Messages can only be recalled if they have not been read by the receiver.
  • The user from whom you are recalling the message must be using Microsoft Outlook for Windows, and have the Outlook application open at the time of recall. 
  • Recipients using Exchange Online (Outlook on the Web), Outlook for Mac, a mobile device, or any other mail client than Outlook for Windows will not have the message recalled.

If you wish to attempt message recall using Outlook for Windows, follow these steps: 

  • Open the message you wish to recall in your 'Sent Items' folder by double-clicking on it.
  • Under the 'Message' tab in the ribbon, choose 'Actions', and then 'Recall This Message...'
  • Select 'Delete unread copies of this message' or 'Delete unread copies and replace with a new message', choose if you want to be notified for success or failure for each recipient and click OK.

 

Exchange Online Undo Send Feature:

This is not message recall, but it can help prevent mistakes when using Outlook on the Web.  The Undo Send feature in Exchange Online allows users to prevent the sending of a message within a configurable window of 5-10 seconds of clicking 'Send'.

To enable and configure Undo Send:

  • In Outlook on the Web (https://365.ocadu.ca) and within Outlook on the Web
  • Click the Gear icon at the top right of the page to bring up the settings menu
  • In the search bar labelled 'Search Outlook Settings', type in 'Undo' and click on 'Undo Send' in the results shown
  • In the window that appears, under the section for 'Undo Send', move the slider to either 5 or 10 seconds.  0 means the feature is disabled.
  • Click 'Save' at the top right.
  • Each time you send a message within Outlook on the Web, a small window will appear with an 'Undo' button at the bottom of the screen.  This is your window to click Undo and prevent sending.  If you Undo, the message will open in a separate window where you can make edits or cancel the message completely.

 

Will IT Services delete a message from mailboxes that I've accidentally sent to the wrong internal recipient(s)?

In general, no.

This process is time consuming, prone to potential error, and typically only used against active security threats (wide spread phishing, undetected malware, etc.).  However, if the content of your message contained highly sensitive, confidential, or personal protected information, please contact the IT Help Desk at ithelp@ocadu.ca or x277 to discuss your issue.

 

Best Practice: Please be mindful and carefully review the recipients you have chosen for your message prior to clicking Send

If your message contains sensitive or personal information, please take extra precautions.

Once sent, IT Services has absolutely no ability to:

  • Stop the transport of or recall/delete messages sent to external recipients
  • Prevent messages from being read, forwarded, printed, or otherwise saved by internal or external recipients within seconds of being received