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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to clean up your Gmail inbox by deleting old email quickly

How to clean up your Gmail inbox by deleting old email quickly

If you have too much email in your Gmail account, it may finally be time to clean it up. This is not just to achieve the zen-like nirvana of “inbox zero”, but to address an impending threat: Starting June 1, 2021, Google will change its storage policy. Gmail users receive 15 GB of storage space by default, divided between Gmail, Drive and Photos. Some data, such as Photos, is currently exempt, but that will disappear in June. If your total data exceeds your free allotted amount, you will either have to delete data, pay Google for more storage, or risk losing the “extra” data that Google decides to delete.

Don’t let that happen! Here are some tactics for deleting a lot of email, pronto.

How to Delete Old Email in Gmail Quickly

About the only requirement for deleting old emails from Google Gmail is that you must be signed in to Gmail and use it in a browser from a Chrome, Mac or Windows PC, or an Android tablet or iPad. These commands may be available from a smartphone, but they are primarily designed for the web interface.

First of all, you need to know how much storage capacity your email takes up. If you scroll to the bottom of your Gmail page, you can see how much space all your data is taking up, not just Gmail! If you are a Google One subscriber, your Google One storage page will be split into Gmail, Photos and Drive. (Tip: You can block automatic Google Photos uploads to help manage your storage.)

cleaning up the total used storage space of Gmail Mark Hachman / IDG

Check your Google One storage tab to find out how close you are to your limit and how much you want to delete.

Now let’s start removing.

The easiest way to remove junk email from Gmail is to use Google’s built-in section tabs in Gmail, which already filter email into several sections: your primary tab (your main inbox), followed by Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. The implied message here is that Google already considers the email stored in your Primary tab as the email you really needeverything else can probably be sacrificed.

I usually delete everything on the Promotions tab first – it’s almost but not really spam. Take another look through a few pages to make sure you want to do a full-scale purge. (If you want to delete email selectively, continue with the section below.)

To start the process, first click on it Promotions tab (the label is displayed as a color instead of gray). Then on the ribbon of icons above the tabs, click the little check box on the far left, like so:

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