Why Deleting Old Email Messages Is Important
Gmail has been around since 2004, and the inboxes of its 1.5 billion users have become graveyards for old emails that take up valuable storage space and make it difficult to stay organized, which can even cause you to miss important messages and the opportunities that come with them.
That’s why you should learn how to delete old emails in Gmail, and especially how to delete all unread emails in Gmail that you haven’t even bothered opening. Don’t worry: deleting old messages is a walk in the park, as this detailed step-by-step guide so clearly illustrates.
While the steps described in this article can be (with modifications) applied to most other email providers, you may also want to take a look at our earlier article, which explains how to delete all emails from most popular email providers.
How To Delete Old Emails In Gmail
If you’ve been using your Gmail inbox for a while, then the chances are that it contains many old emails that can safely be deleted. But how do you delete only old messages without also deleting newer emails along with them? With a simple search query.
Let’s explain how Gmail search queries work on an example. Our goal will be to delete all messages from social networks that are older than a year. Here’s how to that using the native search feature:
Step 1: Craft your search query
The search bar in Gmail is much more useful than it may seem at first. In addition to making it possible to find specific emails based on their sender, subject, and text, it can also be used to display groups of similar email messages based on shared criteria, such as their category and age (follow our guide on how to delete all emails from one sender in Gmail).
To display all messages from social networks that are older than a year, you need to copy and paste the following search query into the search bar and hit Enter: category:social , older_than:1y
Gmail will then let you narrow down the search results even further by displaying a series of contextually aware buttons under the search bar. We won’t use them for the purposes of this article, but you can explore them on your own.
Step 2: Select all search results
Assuming that you’ve correctly filtered out your inbox so that only emails from social media networks that are older than one year are visible, you can now go ahead and click the Select box. All visible email messages will be selected.
If there’s any specific email message that you don’t want to delete, now’s the time to click the checkbox next to it to deselect it.
Step 3: Delete selected emails
With your emails selected, you can click the Trash can icon to delete them. The messages will be moved to the Trash folder, where they’ll stay for 30 days before becoming automatically deleted. You can, of course, empty the Trash folder manually yourself at any moment to free up valuable email storage space. Just make sure that it doesn’t contain any important messages.
That’s how easy it is to delete all social media emails older than one year, and it’s just as easy to learn how to delete all promotions in Gmail, or how to delete all emails on Gmail for that matter.
How To Delete Old Emails In Gmail With Clean Email
Wondering if there’s an easier way how to access old emails in Gmail and delete them with a few clicks? If so, then we have good news for you: there is, and its name is Clean Email.
Clean Email is a secure email organizer app that works with Gmail and all other major email services. What sets it apart from its competition is the fact that it doesn’t monetize users’ private data, making it an excellent choice for email users who care about their privacy.
“But how to find my old emails in Gmail,” you ask? Effortlessly:
- Log in to Clean Email with your Gmail account: https://app.clean.email
- Select “Emails older than 6 months” from the Smart Views section of the left pane.
- You can then tweak your selection and apply any available action, such as deleting all selected messages by clicking the Trash icon.
Besides old messages, Smart Views let you see everything from automated emails to emails larger than 10 MB to messages you’ve sent to yourself.
The most commonly used Smart Views can also be accessed from the Quick Clean section, which is essentially a collection of useful one-click email management shortcuts and a great place to start exploring the full potential of Clean Email.
How To Automatically Delete Old Emails In Gmail
Deleting old messages once isn’t enough. Since new messages keep coming every day, you need to learn how to auto delete old emails in Gmail:
- Click the Settings gear icon and select the See all settings option.
- Go to the Filters and Blocked Addressed tab.
- Click Create a new filter.
- Enter older_than:1y (or older_than:90d, etc.) in the Has the words field.
- Click Create Filter to confirm.
- Select the Delete it option and click Create filter again.
Gmail will now automatically delete all emails that are older than 1 year (or the age you’ve specified).
If Gmail’s native email filtering feature seems too awkward to use, then you can use the Auto Clean feature in Clean Email to get rid of all future messages that match your criteria with a single click. All you have to do is check the “Selected and future similar emails” option before applying an action in Clean Email.
Deleting old messages in Gmail isn't difficult, especially if you use a third-party email organizer like Clean Email to get the job done. With its help, you can remove old messages with a single click and just as easily set up automatic email filters to keep your inbox organized.
Wondering how to delete emails on Android? Check out our blog section to become an email guru!
How To Delete Old Emails In Gmail - FAQs
Where are my old emails in Gmail?
Gmail keeps them in the Inbox folder, alongside new emails. That’s why it’s important to proactively delete them in order to prevent them from piling up.
How do I mass delete old emails in Gmail?
Here’s how to do this:
1. Log in to your email account.
2. Enter the following search query in the search bar: older_than:1y (feel free to replace 1y with any time period you want).
3. Hit Enter, select all found messages, and click the Trash bin icon.
Can you set Gmail to auto-delete old emails?
Yes, you can. Here’s how to auto delete old messages in Gmail:
1. Log in to the Clean Email app with your Gmail account.
2. Go to the Inbox folder and use the email age filter next to the search bar.
3. Make sure all found emails are selected and click the Trash icon.
4. Click Create advanced Auto Clean rule.
5. Customize the rule to fit your preferences and confirm its creation.