Gmail gives you a lot of free storage, but it’s still ultimately limited. If you hit the upper limit (a limit that is shared with Google Photos and Drive, remember) then email messages sent to you will start to bounce, and that’s a huge problem.
You might think that deleting emails will help, and it will — eventually. The trouble is that email messages and threads deleted in Gmail sit in virtual purgatory for 30 days in case you change your mind. If you need that extra space right now, here’s how to empty the trash in Gmail.
1. Head to Gmail
As with all Gmail tutorials, this starts by visiting Gmail.com (opens in new tab). You then want to expand the panel on the left by pressing the text I’ve highlighted in the picture above that reads “More”.
2. Scroll down to Trash
This expansion adds a few more bits you can navigate to. That includes Trash, so scroll down to that and click it.
3. Review your deleted emails
Huh, turns out I’ve been pretty conservative at deleting emails. Nonetheless, have a quick scan through and make sure there’s nothing in here that shouldn’t be.
When you’re quite sure you want to get rid of all the email messages and threads in the trash folder, press the text at the top of the page that reads “Empty trash now.”
4. Confirm you're sure these emails should be deleted
As this is a step that can’t be undone, Gmail wants to make sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re completely certain about deleting these email messages and threads, go ahead and press “OK”.
5. Your Gmail trash is now empty
If that’s gone as expected, you’ll get a small notification at the bottom of the screen saying “All messages have been deleted.”
Now it’s up to you to decide if you need to delete more. You can get a quick assessment of how much space you have left by scrolling to the bottom of the page, where Gmail keeps a running tally as highlighted in the picture below.
More Gmail tips
- How to use Gmail — essential tips and tricks
- How to create a new Gmail account
- How to delete your Gmail account
- How to log out of Gmail
- How to change your name in Gmail
- How to block emails in Gmail
- How to recall email in Gmail
- How to mark all as read in Gmail
- How to delete all emails in Gmail
- How to create folders in Gmail
- How to empty trash in Gmail
- How to change your password in Gmail
- How to archive email in Gmail
- How to activate Gmail dark mode
- How to turn on Gmail's two-factor authentication on your desktop
- How to set up Gmail two-factor authentication (2FA) on your phone