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Gmail messages are missing

This page can help you find your emails if:

  • Some emails are missing. 
  • Emails aren't coming to your inbox.
  • Your inbox is empty and all your emails have disappeared.

First, try these common fixes

We recommend following these steps on a computer because many of them can't be done through the Gmail app.

Check if the email was archived, deleted, or marked as spam

Emails might skip your inbox if they were accidentally archived, deleted, or marked as spam.

Follow these steps to search all your emails, including those that aren't in your inbox:

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. In the search box, click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  3. Click the All Mail drop down, then select Mail & Spam & Trash.
  4. Enter some information that’s in the missing email. If you're not sure about exact words or details, leave the fields blank.
  5. At the bottom of the box, click Search Search.

Tip: To filter your search results even more, you can also use search operators.

Check if the email was filtered

You may have created a filter that automatically archives or deletes certain emails.

Here's how to check your filters:

  1. From a browser, open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. At the top, click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
  5. Look for filters that include the words "Delete it" or "Skip Inbox."
  6. To the right, click Edit or Delete.
  7. Click Update filter.
Check if your emails are being forwarded to another account

When you set up forwarding in Gmail, you can choose whether the original emails are archived or deleted.

Here's how to check your forwarding settings:

  1. From a browser, open Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. At the top, click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  5. In the "Forwarding" section, check if you've selected Forward a copy of incoming mail. If you have, select Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox or Mark Gmail's copy as read.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.

Important: If your emails are being forwarded to an unfamiliar address, select Disable forwarding then check out the Gmail security tips. If you see a forwarding address you don’t know, someone might have unauthorized access to your account.

If you forward mail from another account into Gmail, emails are sometimes sent to Spam if they aren't authenticated. Learn the best practices for forwarding emails to Gmail.

Check your settings if you read your Gmail emails with another email client

If you read your Gmail emails on another email client, like Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook, follow the steps below for the type of forwarding you’ve set up.

I use IMAP to read emails on email clients like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail

When you set up IMAP, you can choose whether the actions you take in your other mail client affect your emails in Gmail. For example, you can choose if deleting a email in Apple Mail also deletes it from Gmail.

Make sure you're using the recommended IMAP settings, and learn how actions sync in IMAP. Look for any settings that explain when emails are deleted.

I use a web app, extension, or add-on to read Gmail

Check your settings to make sure emails aren't getting deleted or archived.

  1. Visit the Connected apps & sites page.
  2. In the "Apps connected to your account" section, click Manage apps.
  3. If you find anything you don't recognize, click the service and then Remove.

I use POP to read emails on email clients like Microsoft Outlook

When you set up POP, you can choose whether the actions you take in your other mail client affect your emails in Gmail. For example, you can choose if deleting a email in Microsoft Outlook also deletes it from Gmail.

  1. Visit the Forwarding and POP/IMAP settings page.
  2. Check to make sure POP is enabled.
  3. If you see "Delete Gmail's copy," or "Archive Gmail's copy," select Keep Gmail's copy in the inbox.
  4. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.

Note: If you're using recent mode with POP, change your email client's POP settings to leave emails on the server.

The steps above didn't help

If you followed the steps above and you still can't find your emails, select the problem you're having below.

I still can't find certain emails

If you couldn't find your email after following the steps above, the email might have been deleted or sent to spam.

Notes about deleted emails

  • If you delete an email, it stays in your Trash for 30 days. After 30 days, emails are permanently deleted from the trash.
  • There's only one copy of every Gmail email. If you deleted an email from one place, like a label or a device, it is deleted from Gmail entirely.
  • Gmail groups all replies to an original email together in a single conversation. When you click or tap delete, the entire conversation is deleted, including the original email and any replies.

Notes about Spam emails

  • If you mark an email as spam, it stays in Spam for 30 days. After 30 days, emails are permanently deleted from Spam.
  • If you think emails are being sent to Spam by mistake, learn how to remove emails from Spam.
Most of my emails are missing

If most of your emails are missing, someone might have unauthorized access to your account and they could be deleting your emails.

If you think someone might have access to your account, follow these steps:

  1. Change your password immediately.
  2. Report the problem to Gmail. It might be possible to recover your deleted emails. If you're using Gmail through your work, school, or other organization, contact your admin.
  3. If your contacts were also deleted, learn how to recover your contacts.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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