How to Delete All Emails in Gmail

With billions of users around the globe, Gmail continues to be the most reliable and used email service. Google provides 15GB of storage whenever you register for a Gmail account. But is that enough?

Google storage used

With the growing need for remote work, cloud storage, and backups for tons of apps - your Gmail storage space can fall short. Unless you want to pay for it and buy the extra storage, it's better to clean up!

You should know that there are better ways than cleaning up emails one at a time. So in this article we'll go over how to mass delete emails on Gmail.

Step 1: Check Your Gmail Storage

Since emails in Gmail cannot exceed the 25MB size limit, having at least 5-7GB of storage space is workable. Of course, you can use a Google Drive link to share files exceeding this limit.

Therefore, find out how much space is left in your account before you actually go and delete all of your emails in Gmail. There are three ways of doing this, which we'll show here.

Already know how much storage you have? Skip to deleting the emails.

You can simply visit one.google.com/storage to find out how much of your available storage you have used. This is a somewhat easier method if you have access to a desktop or laptop.

Even mobile browsers will work, but phones usually have multiple accounts synced. For that, you will have to confirm you're on the particular Google account you are checking.

Via Google Drive

click on the grid of dots icon (highlighted below), and then
There are more straightforward methods after logging into your Google account in Google Chrome.

Don't remember the website? No problem. Just open a new tab in your Chrome browser, find the dot grid icon beside your account avatar to access your G Suit apps. From there, click on the Google Drive icon.

Chrome Google Drive link

You can then view the remaining storage for your account at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar.

Google Drive storage used

Via Phone

Open the Google app from your phone and click on the account icon. Tap on "Manage Your Google Account" and go to the search bar with the magnifying glass symbol.

Type storage and select "Account Storage" from the search option. It will show you your entire storage space and how it is distributed among Drive, Photos, and Gmail.

Google Drive storage used via phone

Step 2: Select All Emails

You could be running out of space because of your Google Photos and Google Drive, which you'll know from checking the storage. It's a good idea to check and clean out those first since videos, images, and files are usually much larger in size than emails, making it easier to free up space.

Long-time Gmail account users have hundreds if not thousands of messages. If you want to delete the emails, however, it's best to do so in groups, which we'll outline below. This will allow you to delete certain types of emails first, like all promotional emails for example, before needing to delete ones that are more important to you.

Search by Categories

Who knew labeling your emails could come in so handy? Gmail provides numerous pages of email with 50-100 emails per page, given you are accessing them from a desktop or laptop.

Therefore, having them sorted by categories or labeling them will save a lot of time whether you want to find or delete them. Simply search the label name or try searching category: name.

Search by Date

Perhaps the easiest method for searching through piles of emails is going through the dates. Type the date in YYYY/DD/MM format, and it will filter out all emails on that date.

Want to find old emails? Here's a cool trick. Just type older_than:1y in the search bar and press Enter. All your emails that you received before one year will appear. Click on the down arrow on the select box and click all.

Note: This way of searching also returns email threads in which some emails within the thread are older than 1 year. So by searching this way you may also be matching more recent emails due to long-running/old threads.

More Advanced Searches

The most efficient way of finding emails from a particular label/category and time is to use a combination of both categories and dates. So how do you do it?

In the search bar in Gmail, simply type something like older_than:5y label:label-name and press Enter. All your emails from that particular label that are older than five years will then appear.

Note: Gmail now offers an easy way to search and select emails, so you do not need to memorize this. But this option is only available if you access Gmail from your desktop.

Simply click on the search bar, click on the filter icon at the right end of it, and the drop-down box will provide you with all the options to select particular emails under a given time and category.

Gmail advanced filtering

However, using this filter UI you can only select emails that are older than a year. For even older emails, you need to use the formula mentioned above.

Step 3: Delete All Emails

Did you know that any email you delete on your Gmail account remains there for 30 days? This is a safe-guard in case you accidentally delete an email that you wanted to keep. So just know that if you have a change of heart, you can restore them from the trash within 30 days.

Now that you have searched and selected the emails you want to delete, it is time for the final act.

Deleting All Selected

The fastest way to delete all emails from a category, label, or search is to click the checkbox next to the refresh button above the list of emails, and then click the "Select all X conversations in [label/category/search]" button. This will select all of the resulting emails, even the ones not on that page.

Gmail select all conversations

This is by far the fastest method as you don't need to perform the same step on each page of emails. However, bulk deleting thousands of emails at a time might not be right for everyone as it may be important for you to actually inspect what's being deleted, which is why the next few ways are also of use.

Deleting by Pages

Athough not quite as fast as the previous method, deleting a page of 50 emails with one click is still a great way to work through a lot of old or unnecessary emails.

Click on the small checkbox at the top to select all emails on that page. Next, click on the trash can, and voila, they are deleted! Or moved to trash for 30 days until you either explicitly delete them forever or allow Gmail to empty the trash!

Deleting by Tabs/Folders

For your convenience, Gmail divides the emails into different folders. For instance, any promotional email from an eCommerce site, for example, comes in the Promotions folder.

The Social folder contains messages from social networking sites and media sharing sites. Updates here include your email subscriptions. Select one of these tabs to delete the emails from that category and follow the steps above.

Delete with your Phone

Although it's much easier to delete emails while on a desktop/laptop, it is possible to do so from your phone as well, just not in bulk. In the app you'll need to manually select each email you want to delete. While not quite as fast, it's still pretty easy to manually select a lot of emails in a short amount of time.

Importance of Mass Deleting Emails on Gmail

Ever had this appeared while checking your morning email?

Gmail low storage notification

Imagine you have a meeting in the morning and you cannot find your company email because your storage is full. No one wants to face that! Google will even warn you that it will stop receiving emails on your behalf if you run out of space.

Since the space provided by your Gmail account is shared within Google Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive, you need to be very careful. Now you cannot delete the important backups from Google Drive or Photos. Therefore, getting rid of unnecessary emails is a good idea. A quicker way to do this is to search for emails with attachments and delete those first since they can be as large as 25MB in size, thus taking up a good amount of space.

Once you start the process, you will be pretty surprised how many spams and other unimportant emails hog your storage.

Wrapping Up

Apart from old messages that hold emotional value, most old and unread messages only occupy your storage space. With Google limiting this to 15GB for your entire account, storage has become precious.

It gets even trickier since Google Photos and Drives also share the same storage with your Gmail account. Therefore, keeping unnecessary emails out of your inbox can help.

You will also be able to keep your current and important emails organized and make it easier to find the emails you actually do care about.

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