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How to delete all emails in Gmail

How to delete all emails in Gmail
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Gmail’s generous quantity of free storage really is a double-edged sword. On one hand, having gigabytes of free data for your email means you don’t have to juggle what’s important to keep. On the other, it encourages laziness, and before you know it, you’ll have thousands and thousands of emails to wade through.

While Gmail doesn’t make it obvious, it’s actually pretty easy to clear everything and start afresh once you know how. Here’s how to delete all emails in Gmail.

1. Select the category of email you want to delete 

Gmail, helpfully or annoyingly depending on your point of view, 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. 

Step 1: How to delete all email in gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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.

Step 2: How to delete all email in gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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.

Step 3: How to delete all email in gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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.

Step 4: How to delete all email in Gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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.

Step 5: How to delete all email in gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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. 

How to delete all email in gmail

(Image credit: Alan Martin)

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