How to delete all emails in Gmail

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Knowing how to delete all emails in Gmail will allow you to have a fresh start with your email account, whether it's full or if you just want a clear-out. Though free webmail services don't restrict storage space as much as they did in the early years, clearing your inbox can still come in handy for a number of reasons.

Maybe your inbox has become cluttered over the years, or maybe you've archived all your emails offline and want to clear up some web space. Whatever the reason, it's a relatively simple task to start afresh in Gmail. Here's our guide on how to delete all emails in Gmail.

1. Select the category of email you want to delete 

Gmail segments email into Primary, Social and Promotions categories. 

The easiest way to delete all emails in Gmail is to tackle each category one by one, and I’m going to demonstrate with the “Promotions” segment for the purposes of this tutorial. Select the tab you want to clear with a click. 

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2. Press the tick box to select all 

Nestled between the search bar and the tab selection is a small tick box highlighted above. Tick it, and every email on the page will be selected. But if you have more than 50 emails to delete, that won’t get everything, so we'll deal with that in our next step.

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3. Add in the emails not displayed on the page 

Once you press the tick box, everything on the page (aside from the inbox ads) will be selected, but an easily missable text will also appear above the tab selection: “All 50 conversations on this page are selected. Select all X conversations in Promotions.” Press the second sentence and everything in the category will now be highlighted as ready for deletion.

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4. Hit the delete button 

Press the fourth icon along underneath the search bar — it’s shaped like a trash bin. You’ll get a popup asking you if you’re sure you want to delete that many emails, so make your decision.

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5. Await confirmation 

If you have a lot of emails, this will take a little while. I had only 3,404 to delete and it still took around 15 seconds. 

As you can see below, once the process is complete, you get a little confirmation pop-up in the bottom left-hand corner. Note, too, that this doesn’t seem to have deleted everything, but a quick refresh revealed everything was really gone.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Empty the trash and repeat the process for other tabs 

You don’t need to do anything more, so consider this an optional step, but your deleted emails will sit in your trash folder for 30 days before Google actually deletes them. 

If you want to expedite the process, you can head to the Trash folder and empty it manually. Once done, repeat steps 2-6 with the Primary and Social tabs, and your Gmail will be completely empty. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Now you know how to delete all emails in Gmail, you might want to check out some other Gmail guides, including how to schedule an email in Gmail and how to change your password in Gmail.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.