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How to Delete Old Emails in Gmail: A Complete 2023 Guide

Written by, Ljubica Cvetkovska

Updated July, 13, 2023

If you are looking for a way to clean up your inbox and free up some space, you are in the right place.

In this article, we will show you how to delete old emails in Gmail manually and automatically.

So let’s dive right in!

How to Delete Old Emails in Gmail

Did you know that 85% of people send and receive emails a year in the UK alone? That’s a lot of messages. So, even if you haven’t been using Gmail for that long, chances are you have a lot of old emails taking up precious space in your inbox. 

Here is a simple guide on how to make all those old emails go away.

1. Go to the search bar 

This allows you to identify particular emails based on the sender, topic, and content. It can also be used to identify clusters of similar emails based on common factors like the date or sender. 

Our goal here is to erase any social media messages older than a month. 

Paste category: social , older_than:1m into the search bar. 

Note: Gmail will allow you to filter the search results even more by presenting a series of context-relevant buttons beneath the search box. You can use these to narrow down the emails you want to delete.  

2. Click Enter, and only emails that are older than one month should appear on your screen (make sure to double-check this if you’re not sure). 

Then, click the Select box and All to select all visible email messages. If you see an email that you don’t want to delete from the pile, just unselect it by clicking the checkbox next to it.

3. Delete the selected emails by clicking on the Trash icon. The emails will be relocated to the Trash folder.

They will remain there for 30 days before being permanently deleted. You can empty the Trash folder at any time to free up storage space if you need to.

And there you have it, the process of ​​deleting old emails in Gmail is done.  You can apply the same method to delete promotional emails or all emails from Gmail if you want to. 

Note: Don’t forget to create a backup of your emails before deleting them. You can easily export and download emails in bulk and store them in your Drive, just in case you might need them someday. 

How to Delete Old Emails in Gmail Automatically

New messages keep arriving in your inbox every day, so instead of deleting old Gmail emails manually once, you can adjust your settings to auto-delete old messages. 

Follow these steps to delete old emails from Gmail automatically. 

1. Go to Settings  ⇒ See All Settings

2. Proceed to the Filters and Blocked Addressed page

3. Click Create a New Filter

4. Type in older_than:1m in the Has the words field. You can also fill in other fields to filter and delete specific messages

5. Click Create Filter Delete itCreate Filter

And voila! Gmail will now erase all emails older than one month or whatever filter you choose to create. 

How to Delete All Unread Emails in Gmail 

To check how many unread emails you have in your Gmail, check the number next to your inbox.

The number you see there, though, only applies to the emails in your main Inbox; it does not apply to messages in the promotions tabs, junk mail, or any other category. 

Here’s how to delete unread emails in Gmail:

1. Type is:unread in the search bar

2. Click the checkbox in the upper left corner to select all the unread mail and then click on the Trash icon (repeat steps 2 & 3 mentioned in the ‘How to delete old emails in Gmail’ section above).

Emails will be relocated to the Trash folder and automatically deleted after 30 days.

If you want Gmail to delete unread emails instantly, click on Empty Trash now in the Trash folder. 

Tidy Up!

There’s no reason why your inbox needs to pile up with old or unread emails. In fact, too many emails and your inbox could be so full, you won’t be able to receive any new messages. 

So, just follow the steps outlined above, and you will clear up space in no time at all. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

How do I select all unread emails in Gmail?

Type is:unread in the search bar and press Enter. You will see a list of all unopened emails. To select them all, go to the top of the email list and click on the checkbox. You can then have Gmail delete all unread messages.

Where are my old emails in Gmail?

They are stored with newer emails in Gmail’s Inbox folder. If you want to see older emails click on the right arrow at the top of the page or use the search bar to find a specific email by date, sender or category. 

How do I delete thousands of old emails in Gmail?

If you want to know how to delete old emails in Gmail in bulk, just scroll up to the very first section, where we have an easy step-by-step guide for you. Basically, just go to the folder OR navigate to a certain category through the search bar, click on the checkbox, and then click Trash.

I am a writer and editor, turned co-founder. During my writing days, I came across countless accounts of people trying to find trusted and reliable sources online. That’s when I realised that this was easier said than done. Creating Don’t Disappoint Me allowed me to help other writers out there who struggle just like me, get the most reliable data in no time. Although this website keeps me busy, I am also known to binge-watch a TV show or two or hit the gym, which doesn’t happen that often.