Deleting emails is just one of many basic inbox hygiene steps, but with that comes the occasional accidental deletion of an important email. We’re here to show you how to both delete and, with any luck, restore emails in Gmail.
Delete emails in Gmail
Deleting emails isn̵
Delete emails in Gmail in a web browser
One of the main benefits of deleting emails from a web browser is the ability to select and delete all displayed messages in a category – a feature not available in the mobile app.
First, open a web browser on your computer and log into your Gmail account. After you are signed in, select the emails you want to delete by clicking the box next to the email. You have successfully selected the email when a check mark appears in the box and the email is highlighted in blue.
Select all the emails you want to delete. Or, if you want to delete all emails that appear on this page, you can select them all by clicking the checkbox above the emails.
Tip: You can adjust how many emails show on a single page in Gmail’s general settings (gear icon in the top right corner> View all settings> General> Maximum page size). The maximum number of emails you can display per page is 100.
Then find the trash can icon above the email window. When you hover the mouse pointer over the icon, a tooltip will appear that says “Delete”. Don’t be fooled by this tool tip – don’t click on this icon really delete the emails. It places them in the “Trash” folder, where you can then delete them permanently or leave them for 30 days before they are automatically deleted.
Click the “Recycle Bin” icon to send the emails to the Recycle Bin folder
A toast notification will appear to let you know that the selected message (s) has been moved to the trash. If you accidentally deleted the wrong email, you have a few seconds to press the “Undo” button to reverse the action. Don’t worry if you didn’t click on it in time. You can still recover the email later.
To permanently delete the emails, go to the “Trash” folder in the left pane.
Select the emails you want to delete permanently by clicking the box next to the email (or clicking the box above the email window to select all emails). Once highlighted, click on ‘Delete forever’.
Be warned, once you hit the “Delete forever” button, that’s it. The emails have disappeared. There is no “Are you sure” confirmation message and no “Undo” button in the toast message that appears.
It is very difficult to recover deleted emails. Not impossible, but difficult. Make sure you want to delete the emails before clicking that button.
Delete emails in Gmail with the Gmail mobile app
You can also delete emails in Gmail with the mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. To do this, open the app and tap the round icon to the left of the email. A check mark will appear.
Then tap the “Trash” icon to send the email to the trash.
A toast message will appear letting you know that the email has been moved to the trash. There is also an “Undo” button that you can tap to undo your action. This message will disappear after a few seconds, but you can still recover the email later if you missed this opportunity.
You can permanently delete the email by performing a similar action in the trash can. Tap the hamburger menu icon in the top left corner of your screen.
In the menu that appears, tap Trash.
In the trash can, tap the round icon to the left of the email, then tap the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
A menu will appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap ‘Delete forever’.
The selected e-mails are now permanently deleted.
If there are many emails in your trash and you are sure you want to delete them all permanently, tap the “Empty Trash Now” button at the top of the screen.
A message will appear asking you to confirm that you are sure you want to permanently delete all emails. When you are sure, tap ‘OK’.
All emails in the trash bin will now be deleted.
Recover deleted Gmail emails from Trash
Recovering deleted emails can be a bit difficult if not impossible. You may be lucky depending on your situation.
If you moved an email to a folder other than the trash, you haven’t really delete the email. The caveat here is that your emails that have been in the trash for more than 30 days will be automatically deleted.
If it has been less than 30 days, navigate to the “Recycle Bin” label and find the email. If it is there, click the box to the left of the email to select it, then click the “Move to” icon. On mobile, tap the circular icon to the left of the email, tap the three horizontal dots in the top right corner of the screen, then tap the “Move to” icon.
In the menu that appears, click (or tap on mobile) the label you want to move the email to.
The email will now appear in the selected folder and cannot be automatically deleted now.
Request Google to recover your deleted emails
You can ask Google to recover your deleted emails using the email recovery workflow.
To sign up, go to the Gmail Message Recovery Tool page and confirm your account information. The email address shown here is the email address you are currently signed in with. If you are not signed in, do this.
Click on “Continue” to confirm the email account.
Next, you need to secure your account (Google provides some recommendations for making your account more secure) and change your password. Google provides links on the page – click on it and follow the process.
Click on “Continue” to proceed to the next step.
You will then be asked to reconfirm your account information. This is exactly the same as in step one. Click on ‘Continue’. Once you click continue, Google will see if they can recover your emails.
After a few moments, you will receive an error or a success message. If you get an error, there is nothing you can do: the emails will be deleted from Google’s servers. If you have received a success message, you should receive your emails within the next 24 hours.
As stated in the success message, your emails should appear in the “All Mail” tab on the left side of your inbox. You can also use Gmail’s search function to try to find the email.
Recover Gmail emails from Google Workspace
Google Workspace offers tools and premium features that you won’t find with your free Gmail account. With a free Gmail account, you can recover deleted emails within 30 days. Google Workspace gives you an extra 25 days of window.
To recover emails, you must be the workspace administrator. Otherwise, you will need to ask a Workspace administrator to do this for you.
Log into your Workspace admin account and click on “Users”.
From the list of users, select the user for whom you want to recover the emails.
Click on “Recover data” in the left pane.
The “Restore Data” window is displayed. Select the date range you want to try to recover emails from, choose ‘Gmail’ from the ‘Application’ drop-down list and click ‘Recover’.
A toast message will appear stating that the data will be restored to
Accidentally deleting an important email is undeniably a stressful event. If you were not able to recover your email this time, then take the right step to back up your emails to avoid future events.