You tap out a message and hit send — then, your heart thunks to the floor. Oh shit. I should not have sent that after all. We’ve all been there, whether it was shooting off an angry email to a coworker, a tequila-advised proposition to your recent ex, or a truly troublesome autocorrect fail.
Luckily, it’s 2015 and there are a variety of ways to take back your shame and embarrassment by unsending that irksome message. Some offer a buffer before the message actually hits someone’s inbox or phone. Other apps and inbox tools let you actually retract your words — as long as the recipient hasn’t opened it yet (we haven’t invented time travel, after all).
While there’s no substitute for good ol’ proofreading, you can now be saved from your quick, impulsive taps of the send button. Read on to find out how.
On Second Thought
Send your messages through On Second Thought (free on Android), and you’ve got a 60-second buffer before it actually gets sent. Just swipe your message to the left or right within a few moments of hitting send and you’ve got the option to recall it. And perhaps even better: On Second Thought offers a curfew feature, so if you know you’re going out for a night of debauchery, the app saves all of your outgoing messages until the next morning.
Imagine: Never waking up wondering what messages you sent the night before. Glorious! An iOS version is coming soon.
Dasher (free on iOS and Android) is like the shopping mall of messaging experiences. In addition to letting you chat with friends (it’s even GIF-friendly), it also lets you share your location, play YouTube videos right in the chat stream, and Venmo money, all without leaving the app.
On top of that, Dasher lets you edit or delete messages you’ve already sent, so you can that turn that 1 a.m. duckface selfie you accidentally sent to your dad into a photo of your cat before he ever sees it.
Clear (free on iOS) helps you manage your social media image after the fact. It lets you go back in time and delete those old tweets you may have posted in poor taste (because maybe your potential new boss may not be so keen on how many f-bombs you’re able to drop in 140 characters).
Clear is still in beta with a long waiting list, so be warned: Once you download the app, it may take a while until you’re actually given the opportunity to scan your Twitter feed for negative-sounding posts.
Gmail Labs Undo Send
Did you hit send on a flirty email to your office crush… to the whole office? While you should probably take a good, hard look at your flirtation techniques, your reputation isn’t SOL, as long as you’ve enabled Google Labs’Undo Send feature in Gmail. This optional feature gives you 10 seconds to unsend a message after you’ve hit the Send button. If you need a little more time, you can up that buffer to 30 seconds.
To switch this on, click the gear cog icon in the upper right to access Settings, then click the Labs tab. Scroll down to “Undo Send” and click Enable, then hit Save Changes at the bottom of the page. You can adjust the time buffer for Undo Send in the General tab of your Gmail settings.
Microsoft Outlook Recall Message
What if your office uses Microsoft Outlook? Don’t fret, you’ve got a similar ability. Outlook lets you recall, or recall and replace a message sent to another person in your organization — perfect for reducing inbox clutter if you realize you forgot to attach a file, or identified some serious typos after the fact. To Recall a message, go to Mail, Sent Items, then open the message you want to recall. Go to the Message tab, click Actions, then Recall This Message. If you want to delete this message altogether, tap Delete unread copies of this message, otherwise, just edit your original email and your new version will be sent instead.
Unfortunately, there are a few scenarios (which Microsoft outlines) where your attempt to recall a message results in two messages being sent to the recipient’s inbox — which means your original error may be doubly highlighted.
Inbox Messenger (free on iOS and Android) offers several features that make it stand apart from your standard messaging app. First off, it lets you unsend messages (score!), but it also has a privacy mode that “cloaks” messages on your phone. A shake of your handset reveals the actual text, so prying eyes can’t spy on your chat logs while you type a new reply. Inbox Messenger also lets you send drawings, voice messages, videos, and your location, and supports a number of different languages. You can see if a friend is “present” or not as well, so you know whether to expect an immediate reply or if it’ll be a bit.
Facebook Privacy Settings
If you have a tendency to overshare on Facebook and regret it later, you can try switching your settings around to keep your posts private until deemed in good judgment. To do this, head over to the privacy icon in the upper right of your Facebook page, then click “Who can see my stuff?” Under “Who can see my future posts?” change it to “Only Me.”
Now, everything you post to Facebook will initially be private to you. If you decide you want to share it with friends, or the world, you can click the upper right of the post to adjust its individual sharing settings.
Alternatively, you can set your posts to only be viewable by a select group of friends or family. Both of these are actually a good idea if you’re afraid your old Facebook posts could come back to haunt you.
Change Your Habits
If all else fails, you could change your habits. Take an extra 10 to 15 seconds before hitting that send button to read (and re-read) your post. Autocorrect is sneaky sometimes, changing the spelling of your word a second or two after you’ve typed it. If you don’t go back and proofread your message, it may have swapped your colleague’s name for a random word that starts with the same letter. You can use this Gmail tool if you find yourself constantly forgetting attachments on emails. And as for drunken texts…Well, you can always just hand your phone to a friend for safekeeping (they don’t know your passcode, right?).
First Appeared on Refinery 29