Spring cleaning Gmail

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I was browsing through old email messages in my Gmail account and noticed something: those old messages I thought I deleted stayed in the All Mail folder.

It turns out that if you use an iOS device such as the iPad, the default action for clicking the Trash bin in the Mail app for a Gmail account is to archive the message, instead of actually deleting it.


I was a bit surprised to find that my inbox actually contained over 27,000 messages! To delete Gmail messages instead of archiving them in your iOS devices, follow these steps:


So how do you do if you want to get rid of Gmail-archived messages but not the ones you want to keep? If you have been archiving (thinking you were actually deleting), the chances are that the archived messages have no “inbox” label associated with them. You can use Gmail’s search operators to only display archived messages:


The key steps from the web site above:

* * *

In the Gmail search box, type

-label:inbox -label:sent -label:drafts -label:notes


and press enter. That should give you all your archived messages. Once there, select All and then click Select all conversations that match this search to ensure that all messages are selected. Click Delete.

They’d still go the the Trash though so you’d have to empty the Trash as a final step.

* * *

Once I did all these steps, my inbox is down to about 3000 messages without old newsletters, promotions, updates, etc. I feel better already.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s