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How to Delete All Unread Emails in Gmail

Posted by Arch on January 28, 2019

How many times have you subscribed to a company’s mailing list to get one piece of info, only to be bombarded by endless emails? If you’re a long-time Gmail user, the answer is probably a lot.

Depending on how long you’ve been using the email service, you might’ve accumulated thousands of emails you have no intention of reading. Many people will simply ignore this and watch as their inbox gets more and more cluttered.

At one point, you’ll want to get rid of those emails that aren’t worth the time they take to read. Google knows this, which is why Gmail comes equipped with convenient features that let you purge emails in an easy way.

Using Filters

Before you delete your unread emails, you need to ensure that you don’t delete the important ones. Thankfully, such emails are labeled ‘Important’, so it’s pretty easy to identify them.

Once you’ve made sure that you’ve read all your important emails, here’s what to do to delete all the useless ones in a matter of minutes:

  1. Open the desktop version of Gmail and go to your Inbox.
  2. Click on the gear icon at the top right corner and go to Settings.
  3. Go to the Filters tab, then click Create a new filter.
  4. You’ll be presented with various criteria by which you can filter all your emails. To see all your unread emails, type label:unread under Has the words. Then, click on Create filter with this search and confirm the creation by clicking OK when the pop-up menu shows up.
  5. There’ll be a couple of options for you to choose from. These are the actions that happen each time you receive an email with the selected label. To delete all unread emails, check the box next to Delete it, as well as the one next to Apply filter to XXX matching conversations to delete all unread emails.
  6. Go to Create filter, then refresh the page. All your unread emails should be deleted.

It’s important to mention that this will delete your unread emails as soon as they appear. If you leave the filter on, each time you receive an email, it will get deleted automatically. This is why you should remember to delete the filter once it’s no longer needed.

Using Labels Only

If you need an even more convenient way of deleting all your emails, you can enter the label:unread filter directly into the search bar on the Gmail homepage. This will show all your unread emails and conversations from all folders.

Then, all you have to do is check the Select All box in the upper-left corner and click the trash can icon above your emails. This will delete all the emails on one page. You may have 50 or 100 emails on one page, depending on the platform you’re using, and this will only delete the emails from that page.

To delete all of them, click on the Select all conversations that match this search option and all your unread emails will be deleted.

What about Smartphone Apps?

If you’re using the Gmail app on your Android or iPhone, there are some good and bad news. The good news is that the filtering function works the same way as it does on the desktop version, and you can just type in the labels in the search bar.

The bad news is that deleting emails in bulk isn’t possible, as there’s no Select All option in the app. This is why your best bet is to log into your Gmail account in a browser and use one of the above methods to delete all your unread emails.

The Final Word

Removing all unwanted emails in Gmail is a fairly straightforward process that requires very little time. As you can see, with just a few clicks you can get rid of all unread emails. Keep in mind that this doesn’t remove them for good but instead transfers them to the Trash folder, where they’ll stay for 30 days before they’re gone forever.

If you want to remove them before that, you can do it manually by going to the Trash folder and repeating the steps in the second method.

Even though manipulating Gmail emails isn’t a daunting task, some functions might not be that obvious. If you’d like to see more Gmail tutorials, feel free to drop your suggestions in the comments section below.

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