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Control email and chat message storage

This feature isn't available in the legacy free edition of Google Apps.

You can control the amount of email and chat messages stored for users in your organization. You can specify the maximum number of days you want the messages to be kept in a user's inbox. You can also specify whether to:

  • Move messages to trash or delete them permanently when their storage periods expire.
  • Store messages with specific labels.
  • Delete messages automatically or let your users manage message deletion.

If you need auto-deletion for all accounts regardless of account activity, such as for legal and compliance purposes, use Google Vault instead.

How storage settings are applied

Storage is controlled by the Email and chat auto-deletion setting. The setting applies to messages in the user's inbox and archived messages. They also apply to messages added using the Email Migration API. Migrated messages older than the specified period for auto-deletion are deleted, unless they are tagged with a label to exclude them from deletion.

Storage settings don't apply to messages in the Trash folder. These messages are deleted permanently after 30 days. The settings also don't apply to suspended or inactive users. To stay active, accounts must receive messages or make requests via the web or a client at least once a day.

Storage policies are applied to messages on a regular, periodic schedule. Therefore, a storage period might be over, but the messages might not be removed until later.

How to use labels to store messages

You can create a label or list of labels for storing specific messages. You do this using the Do not automatically delete messages with the following labels option. You then communicate the label or labels to the users in your domain so that they can create the same labels and apply them to messages that they don’t want deleted. 

Note: Wildcard characters aren’t supported and setting inheritance doesn’t apply, so you must enter each label individually using full label names. 

Set up message storage:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenGmailand thenAdvanced settings.

    Tip: To see Advanced settings, scroll to the bottom of the Gmail page.

  3. On the left, select your top-level organization, typically your domain.
  4. Scroll to the Email and chat auto-deletion setting in the Compliance section.
  5. Choose an option:
    • Automatically delete email and chat messages older than N days. Then, go to step 6.
    • Do not delete email and chat messages automatically. Then, click Save and skip the remaining steps.
  6. Enter the number of days you want to store messages. For example, enter 30 to have messages older than 30 days deleted.
  7. To specify how to handle automatically-deleted messages, choose an option:
    • Move messages to the Trash folder. Messages stay in trash for an additional 30 days before they're deleted. The extra time allows you to retrieve any messages that were deleted by mistake.
    • Delete messages permanently: Messages bypass trash and are deleted permanently after the number of days you specify. You can't retrieve permanently deleted messages.
  8. To store messages with specific labels, under Do not automatically delete messages with the following labels, enter a comma-separated list of labels.

  9. At the bottom of the Gmail Advanced settings page, click Save.

 

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