Gmail has nearly 2 billion users worldwide. It’s popular in part because it’s a free service that gives you nearly unlimited storage for emails, documents, and files.
But that can be a double-edged sword. Your Gmail inbox can quickly get overwhelming when it fills up with emails that you don’t actually care to keep.
That’s why it’s useful to know how to delete all of your Gmail emails at once. We’ll tell you how to do it in the article below.
Overview of deleting all your Gmail emails
We’ll give you a closer look at each of these steps in the next section, but here’s a high-level look at how to delete all your Gmail emails:
- Pick the type of emails you want to delete (social, promotional, or primary)
- Click on the box to select all the emails on the page
- Click on the prompt to add the emails that aren’t on the page
- Hit the delete button
- Wait for confirmation
Step 1: Pick the email category you want to delete
The first step is deciding on which category of emails you want to delete. Often, when people are trying to delete all of their emails, what they’re really trying to do is get rid of all the spam in their inbox.
If that applies to you, then deleting all of your promotion or social emails could be the best option.
But if you truly want to erase everything – even emails from people who you know and have in your contact list – then selecting the “Primary” category will be your best option.
You can, of course, delete multiple categories of emails, which you may need to do depending on your goals.
Step 2: Check the box to select all emails on the page
Next up, you need to tick the box near the top left of your screen. This box will select all of the emails displayed on the current page at the same time. That way, you can take a bulk action with all of them by pressing a single button.
Step 3: Click on the prompt to add emails not on the page
This is the key potential problem area to keep in mind.
When you just complete step 3, you won’t actually delete all of your emails from the categories you’ve selected. You’ll only be deleting the ones on that page.
You’ll have to click on the message shown in the screenshot above to accomplish your goal of deleting every email in the category.
Step 4: Press the delete button
The next step is to press the trash can button that we’ve pointed out in the screenshot above. This will begin the deletion process for all of the emails that you’ve selected by completing the previous steps.
Step 5: Wait for confirmation
Once you’ve hit the trash can, you should be prompted to confirm that you really want to delete all of the messages that you’ve selected.
After you’ve confirmed this, your job is done. You can sit back and relax while your selected messages begin deleting themselves.
Completing other bulk actions in Gmail
Deleting all of your emails at once in Gmail is just one of the bulk actions that you can take with your inbox. There are others that could be useful to know about as well. We’ll take a look at a few of them in this section.
Accessing other bulk inbox options
The process for completing other bulk actions with your emails is almost exactly identical to the one we’ve shown above.
You would still select the emails that you want the bulk action to apply to in the same way that we’ve outlined in steps 1-3. The differences only start once you get to step 4.
At that point, you click on the three dots at the far end of the same menu where you found the trash can icon. When you hit these dots, it’ll give you a list of bulk actions that you can take.
Your bulk action options
Gmail gives you a lot of actions that you can take with multiple emails, including:
- Marking as read
- Marking as unread
- Marking as important or unimportant
- Adding a star
- Setting up filters for future emails with similar characteristics
- Forwarding as attachments
Most of these are self-explanatory. But it’s worth taking a closer look at the option for setting up filters for future emails.
Filtering future emails with a bulk action
When you choose this option, you’ll be brought to a screen that’s already filled in with all of the addresses that sent you the messages you’ve selected.
You can follow the on-screen instructions at that point to choose what happens when emails from the same senders arrive in your inbox in the future.
This is especially good to know if the reason you’re deleting all of your Gmail emails is that you’re getting lots of unwanted emails from companies that you’re no longer interested in.
With this filtering option, you can automatically send any emails from those companies in the future to your trash or spam folders instead of having to go back and manually delete them yourself again in the future.
Potential issues with Gmail apps
It’s worth mentioning that some people have reported issues with deleting all of their emails from Gmail through one of the company’s apps. This may be especially common for people with lots of emails to delete.
If you’re using a Gmail app and it’s not working for you, then you should try following the process we’ve outlined above on your web browser.
Typically, that’s all it takes to clear up the problem.
Other common questions
As you work to delete all of your Gmail emails from your inbox, you may have a few additional questions come up.
Here are some of the most common ones that people have during this process and the answers to them.
How many emails can Gmail hold?
One of the reasons that someone may want to delete their Gmail emails is because they believe that they’re running out of storage space. But for most people, this isn’t really a concern.
Every Google account has 15 gigabytes of storage across:
- Google Drive
- Google Photos
That’s quite a lot of space when you consider that the average email is only about 75 kilobytes large.
So unless you send and receive loads of emails over a long period of time, or you have lots of high-quality photos in your Google Photos Drive, running out of space isn’t something that you’ll likely need to worry about.
That means if your only reason for deleting your inbox is because you’re worried about running out of space, those worries may be unfounded.
You can check how much space you have left by visiting your Google Drive and looking at the storage tracker on the left side of the screen underneath the trash icon.
How long does it take to delete all Gmail emails?
The amount of time that it takes Gmail to complete the deletion process will vary based on the number of emails that you’re deleting.
If the number is under 1,000, you should expect to see those emails removed from your inbox almost immediately.
But if you’re deleting many thousands of emails at once, it could take several minutes to complete the process.
Are Gmail emails gone forever when you delete them?
Your emails won’t be gone forever after you complete the deletion process – at least not right away.
The process that we’ve outlined sends your Gmail emails to your trash folder. They will be stored for 30 days here and then automatically deleted forever after those 30 days elapse.
That means you can delete all of the messages from your inbox and still revert the ones that you want to keep for up to about a month after you do this.
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