Gmail Tip: How to delete emails in Gmail in bulk

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Gmail is one of the most prominent and widely used email service in the world. This is manifested by several millions of users enjoying Gmail as an email service, both free and paid accounts. One of the factors why people pick Gmail is its huge email storage. Free Gmail accounts come with 15Gig of email storage.

How to delete several or tons of emails in Gmail at once

Because of this huge storage capacity of Gmail, one is tempted to store several thousands of emails accumulating over time. However, when your email count reaches like 25,000 messages or threads,  you might consider doing a cleanup. Deleting these unwanted emails in Gmail is easy. But how about deleting 15,000 emails? Or deleting emails from a specific date range like emails received from February 2009 to  March 2012?

Gmail is powerful enough to do the tricky things in tricky ways described below.

Deleting Emails within a Date Range at Once

You can use Filters in Gmail wisely to delete a large amount of emails at once. To start, please check if your Gmail has filters already running. Click on the small gear icon at the top right corner of the Gmail window, then click on Settings.

The Settings link for Gmail

In the Settings page, click on Filters and see if there are existing filters. If there are, please check the behavior of the filters to see if they are not affecting how your Gmail is behaving. After the check, you are ready to create a filter just to delete all emails received within an inclusive date.

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account.
  2. Click on the small down-arrow at the end of the search box to initiate Advanced Search, as shown below:
    Click the small down-arrow for advanced search
  3. In the search box that appears, make sure that Search is set to "All Mail"
  4. If you want to include all emails BEFORE or AFTER a particular date, like BEFORE 2013/06/30, or AFTER 2010/06/30, then you can use the "Has the words" box. FOr instance, you can enter before:2013/06/30 in "Has the words" box so that all emails before 2013/06/30 will be included. Please make sure that there is NO space between the colon and that the date is in the form yyyy/mm/dd.
    Filtering emails using the "Has the words" box

  5. If you want to include emails with specific date bounds, then you can pick 1 Year in the "Date within" box and then enter the date. The date you enter will serve as the top boundary date.
    Filtering emails using the "Date within" box

  6. Alternately, you can still use the "Has the words" box and then enter the date bounds like this:
    after:2009/6/1 before:2011/6/2
    In this pattern, the dates are in the form yyyy/mm/dd and the BEFORE and AFTER keywords are separated by a space.

  7. After setting the filter criteria, click on "Create filter with this search" link at the bottom right of the Advanced search box. If the said link is not available, click on the search button (magnifying glass button) and then click on the small down-arrow again to pull out the Advanced search form, then click on "Create filter with this search" again.
    The create filter command to create a filter out of the search results

    NOTE: The "Create filter with this search" link will only work when "Has the words" box is filled.

  8. In the Filter box that appears, click on the check boxes for the options "Delete it" and "Also apply filter to matching conversation". Then click on "Create Filter" button.
    Create Filter command


  9. Congratulations! The filter will be created and all emails included or resulted in the search will be deleted. Please give it some time to complete depending on the actual bulk of emails you are deleting.


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