Especially in the Gmail mobile app, having an email inbox full of read, unnecessary messages might be problematic. The Gmail app’s search feature can bog down if you have thousands (or tens of thousands) of emails. Additionally, Gmail will soon compel you to delete emails in order to free up storage space or switch to a paid subscription because all those outdated emails take up space.
What do you do then? I’m going to demonstrate a useful mass deletion technique for you. Unfortunately, this only functions with Gmail on the web. You can pick multiple messages using the Gmail app, select them one at a time, and then delete all of the selected messages. The good news is that your Gmail application will appreciate your diligence.
What you’ll need
You only need a Google account and an inbox on Gmail that is full of read emails that you don’t need to store. Emails that you have read but don’t wish to delete should be marked as unread or moved to another folder.
How to delete many read messages at once
Click the Select dropdown in Gmail after it has opened (Figure A). Finally, pick Read from the selection. The read messages in your inbox will be selected as a result, but not all of them; more on that later.
Gmail will show contextual options and highlight the chosen messages once you pick the read messages. Click the Delete button to remove the messages that have been highlighted. As shown in Figure B, that icon has a garbage can-like appearance.
Your messages are not permanently lost. Select the Trash folder to recover messages, at least temporarily. Choose the messages from the Trash folder that you want to delete. Select a folder from the list that appears after clicking the Move to option at the top of the screen, as shown in Figure C. By default, Gmail purges messages from the Trash folder every 30 days.
How to delete more messages at the same time
For better or worse, users of Gmail are only able to delete a small number of messages at a time. They assert that the cap shields you from hackers. There is no getting past the fact that once you’ve accumulated hundreds of messages, it will take some time to delete them all.
You should be aware that you are selecting and then removing read messages by the page when you delete them. Gmail shows 50 messages per page by default. Gmail only lets you choose messages from the current page, not from all of your email messages.
In other words, the selecting method will erase 30 messages if Gmail displays 50 messages per page and you have 30 read messages on the current page. Even if you have 10,000 read messages, Gmail will only keep the 30 messages that are now visible on the page.
Fortunately, there is yet another choice, but it might also take some time to prepare before utilizing it: As seen in Figure D, select All from the Select dropdown menu. By doing this, the button Select All x chats in Primary appears. Click that link and select Delete to delete every message in the Primary tab. To move all of your email messages to the Trash folder, confirm the bulk delete option.
You’ll need to relocate texts you wish to keep to another folder before utilizing this method, and that’s difficult. It can be difficult and time-consuming to locate a selection or search method to choose messages and find the ones you don’t want to delete. Additionally, you expose yourself to mistakes because it’s simple to overlook crucial signals that you ought to maintain.
Users of Gmail frequently complain that the results of this mass delete are a little sticky—the messages vanish but subsequently resurface. I believe that because these bulk delete requests are so huge, the server releases them without committing them. It might help to reduce the choices to smaller batches, however doing so requires temporarily shifting messages. By no means does it represent a panacea.
How to delete old messages using a date search
Consider eliminating older messages by entering a benchmark date in a search if you still have a lot of messages that you can’t remove right away. For instance, if the current date is June 25, 2023, and you wish to remove any messages that are one month old, you would enter the search phrase before: 05/25/2023, as shown in Figure E. Click Delete after Gmail has highlighted those messages.
Change the search date to narrow the choices if the messages reappear. The process could take a few batches, but it might still be quicker than deleting read messages one by one.
Deleting to reclaim storage
Messages in the Trash folder must be permanently deleted if you’re removing to free up storage space. Additionally, don’t overlook the Promotions and Social tabs because you’ll need to occasionally clean up those files.
And that is the method for deleting emails in Gmail in mass. Enjoy the extra room and improved Gmail app searching. Remember that we have only looked at a few options. You will discover methods that are more meaningful to you once you are more comfortable selecting and searching.