From posting a photo of my “amazung view of the muntains” to sending an email prematurely, I know that feeling of regret all too well.
We’re all trying to maintain control of our online footprint as best we can. But with so many opportunities to mess up on the web, it’s easy to make silly tech mistakes from time to time.
Luckily for us, there are ways to correct some of these embarrassing slip-ups. I consulted my colleagues and scoured the web (hat tip to you, PureWow) to find the following tech hacks that are so simple and yet so life-changing, you won’t believe you ever lived without them.
Have you ever sent an email and immediately wished you could take it back? If you use Gmail, you totally can. Technically, the un-send feature in Gmail doesn’t actually un-send your email — what it really does is delay the sending of your message for a few seconds, giving you the option to undo the send while the clock is ticking. All you have to do is enable the feature via Gmail Labs. Here’s how to do it …
Step 1: First, you need to enable the Undo Send feature in your settings. To do this, click the gear button on your Gmail homepage and choose Settings.
Choose the Labs tab at the top. Find the Undo Send feature and choose Enable. Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page!
Step 2: When you send an email, you’ll see an option to undo the send at the top of your screen. If you realize you’ve made a mistake, simply click Undo, and Gmail will return you to the message in the form of a draft.
(For you non-Gmail folks, I tried looking for solutions in Outlook and other email clients but couldn’t find any that actually worked. If you know of any, feel free to share tips with readers in the comments section.)
If you’re like me and keep 10+ tabs open on your internet browser at once, it can be a little devastating when you accidentally close all of them at once. That’s why I rejoiced when I heard about this hack, which lets you recover all your previously opened browser tabs without having to dig through your web history. It’s dead simple:
This is the worst. Has Word ever crashed on you? Or maybe your computer died and you lost hours — or even days — of work? In some cases, you can recover that lost file the way it was at the moment you lost it. Unfortunately, if you never saved the document in the first place, you’re out of luck — but that means you need to get into the habit of saving documents the moment you start them.
If your version of Microsoft Office has AutoRecovery, you can recover a file that’s been autosaved by looking in the AutoRecovery folder the next time you open Word. Go to File then Open Recent — and your file will (hopefully!) be listed in the Open Recent list.
Alternatively, you can find it by opening your Finder and looking in /Users/username/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 AutoRecovery. (Note that you have to replace username with your personal username.)
To eliminate the guessing game in the future, you can take the precaution of choosing exactly where you want Word to autosave files. To do this, go to Preferences in the Word menu and click File Locations.
Choose AutoRecover files.
Click “Modify…“. Then choose where you want your files to autosave. You can also create a new folder specifically for autosaved files.
Finally — one more Microsoft Word tip! — there’s a feature on some Office applications that lets you save your files automatically on a regular basis. You can set up exactly how often you want your files saved. Just make sure you don’t use AutoRecover in place of actually saving your files. Here’s how to customize it:
On the Word menu, click Preferences. Click Save (in the Output and Sharing section).
In the “Save AutoRecover info every…” box, enter how frequently you want Word to autosave your documents. Click OK.
If you write a post, status, or caption on Facebook that you want to change later, you can edit it via an internet browser. (Unfortunately, you can’t yet change it via Facebook’s mobile app.) Here’s how to do it in a browser:
First, hover your mouse over the post you want to edit. A small, grey arrow will show up in the top, right-hand corner of the post.
Click the arrow and choose Edit.
Edit away! Click Done Editing when you’re finished. Note that edited posts will be labeled Edited, as shown below.
Did you accidentally erase something you just typed? To get it back, you need to Undo Typing. All you have to do is shake your phone, and a window will pop up prompting you to Undo Typing. Click Undo, and you’ll get that text back.
Have you ever sent a text message you wish you could take back? There’s an app for that! TigerText is a free app that lets you recall your text message at any time — even after the person has read it. This app can also encrypt your text messages, set them to self-destruct after a chosen period of time (kind of like SnapChat), and can let you know when your texts are read by the recipients. You’ll need to download the app, connect it to your email address and phone, and create a password. This solution only works if both you and the recipient have the app installed, but I still thought it was cool enough to share.
Without TigerText, you can’t un-send an iMessage once it’s been delivered. But if you’re quick enough, you can stop it from sending while it’s still in the process of sending by putting your phone in Airplane Mode to stop the text from sending. iMessages send pretty quickly nowadays, so you don’t have much time — meaning you’ll probably want to practice if you ever plan on trying this in the future. Here’s how to do it:
As soon as you realize your mistake, press the Home button.
Go into the Settings app. (It may not be in the same place on your iPhone as it is here.)
Next, switch on Airplane Mode by sliding the button to the right so it turns green. If it works, a small airplane will appear in the top, left-hand corner of your iPhone screen.
Then go back to the text message. If it failed to deliver, then it worked! You can delete it if you want.
(You can usually turn your phone on Airplane Mode by simply swiping up from the bottom of your screen — but note that you can’t do this while you’re texting, which is why you need to go into Settings instead.)
You can edit (rewrite) your Instagram caption and delete Instagram comments using the same trick because captions are treated the same as comments in Instagram. So when you rewrite a caption, it’ll post below any comments that were already on your photo. Here’s how to do it:
Open the picture on your phone and tap Comment.
Then, hold down your comment for about two seconds, and swipe to the left. Tap the trash can. You can also do this with any of the other comments on your photo.
Write a new caption if you’d like, and it’ll appear below any existing comments.
Have any more hacks that’ll help the rest of us correct our tech mistakes? Share them in the comments below!