How to Delete Gmail Messages in Bulk

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When you start a fresh Gmail account, it seems like you have all of the space you'll ever need. But after several years of emails, that may not be the case. If you're looking to free up some space by deleting old messages, following a couple of tips will help you remove old emails in no-time.

googlescreen

Here's how to search for and remove old messages in bulk:

Search by date

In the search bar, you can type the date in a YYYY/DD/MM format to filter out emails before a certain date. If you type before:2014/01/1, you'll see a list of all of the emails you received prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

You can also search by how old emails are. If you type older_than:1y, you'll receive emails older than 1 year. You can use m for months or d for days, as well.

If you want to delete them all, click the Check all box, then click "Select all conversations that match this search," followed by the Delete button.

Labels and Categories

If you want to get more specific than a date or time, you can refine your search by looking through the categories the emails are kept in or the labels you assigned them to.

If you have a label called "XYZ," you can search for label:XYZ to find those emails. If you want emails that Gmail has classified as being in your social or promotions folders, try category:social or category:updates.

Combinations

Now you can take what you've learned and combine them. If you type older_than:1y label:XYZ, you'll see all emails older than 1 year with the label you assigned. For those who have organized inboxes, this is an efficient way to search through and then delete old emails you never use anymore.

If you're looking to get even more advanced, Google offers a full list of search operators to filter through your email and find what you no longer need, including how large messages are, whether they have stars and who sent the email in the first place.

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on
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23 comments
  • Sammi Says:

    Beware it is YYYY/MM/DD - not what is listed above. But yes thanks for tip!

  • Brahmananda Sagar Says:

    thanks a lot helpful information

  • Fredpn8 Says:

    Thank you so much! This is so helpful! Just bulk deleted 47,000 emails in no time!

  • Chinmaya Says:

    The tips from Andrew on the subject" How to Delete Gmail Messages in Bulk" were helpful in doing this job quickly. Thanks

  • 'Christine Says:

    That's still just 50 at a time, right?

  • Carla Says:

    Thank you so much! I've read other how-to on Gmail and I couldn't make sense of it. This is perfect! 60,000 emails is a lot to delete one page at a time.

  • Helen Fleming Says:

    Just early days - too soon to comment.

  • Kevin Says:

    None of these solutions worked, not the date method and not the older than ? Where is the 'All conversations" selection located ?

  • Jan Wishau Says:

    I have 90,000 emails. With 2% storage left on my phone. Is there any way to remove more than 50 at a time?Also does CLEAR SELECTION mean it is deleted? It doesn't appear in my trash. My procedure: Using a MacBook I go to my Google account. I inserted older_than:1y clicked search. Selected ALL in box with drop down, All 50 conversations on this page are selected. click SELECT ALL CONVERSATIONS THAT MATCH THIS SEARCH. Then I click on CLEAR SELECTION (the word delete does not appear). Then I click on the right arrow (example151-200) . Rinse and repeat. I sure would like some assistance. Thanks ahead of time.

  • Billy Murphy Says:

    Great Stuff!! Have spent hours deleting ancient emails from my inbox

  • JoseM Says:

    Thanks for this! I assume this only deletes emails in your Inbox and not in other folders?

  • Xzavier Wilson Says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for.

    Thumbs up.

  • TonyC Says:

    Great tip, thanks a lot. I use to delete 100 at a time. This was so much faster.

  • Susan Wells Says:

    This is for "ChipGin" -- I just want to THANK you for adding that info because my gmail doesn't the "select all conversations...." option as explained in the article! Also to author of article- Thank you for this info! There's SO MUCH Idk about- little tips or tricks and how-to's!! Thank you!! 😀

  • ChipGn Says:

    For those who can't see the option to delete all the conversations: click the check box to select the 50 showing, then look to the middle of the screen right below those buttons, and there's a text line with a link to "select all conversations that match the search criteria." Click it, then delete.

  • Alan the Aardvark Says:

    Thanks so much for the before:2014/01/1 command! I was paid to delete 20,000 emails by someone 100 at a time. That little beauty just saved me some seriously boring work!.

  • Dianne Says:

    Same issue as others. There's no option to select all conversations. Help

  • Scott Ekey Says:

    Thanks- it worked great.
    HOWEVER- since I did the delete, I now am not receiving new emails.

  • richard Says:

    When I do this the emails still pop up page by page so I can only delete 50 at a time...??

  • judge Says:

    It did not work. It brought the older than 1 year emails but it still showed as multiple pages. Please help thanks

  • dquill Says:

    There doesn't seem to be such a thing as "Select all conversations that match this search,"

  • Anjy Dyer-Munroe Says:

    Thanks for this post! It worked!

  • thespliffpotcast Says:

    OMG THANK YOU!! I have so many years of emails and spam that I will never need, and the thought of deleting page by page was nightmare inducing. I feel so free now!

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