Delete messages

To delete a message, click the Trashcan icon Trash icon to move the message to the Trash folder. After 30 days in the Trash folder, the message will be permanently deleted.

Archive instead of delete

Instead of deleting a message, you can archive it. When you archive a message, it moves the message out of your inbox but keeps it in your account so you can search for it later. Learn more about archiving messages.

Gmail Archive icon

Delete messages

Delete individual messages

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Open the message (or select the checkbox next to it).
  3. Click the Trashcan icon Trash icon.
    Gmail Delete icon

To delete a specific message from a conversation thread, click the down arrow next to Reply and choose Delete this message.

Reply drop-down arrow

Delete many or all messages at once

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Find the group of messages you want to delete. You can find messages by searching or by selecting all messages with a certain label.
  3. Select messages using the checkbox in the toolbar above your messages. This selects all messages that are currently visible on the page.

     
  4. Directly above your messages, you should see a sentence similar to this:

    "All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search."

    Select all messages link

    Use the “Select all conversations” link to select the rest of the messages if you’d like to delete all the messages at once rather than one page at a time.
     
  5. If you’re confident you won’t need these messages in the future, click the Trashcan icon Trash icon.
    Gmail Delete icon
     

Messages in Trash

Messages stay in Trash for about 30 days before they are permanently deleted. You can find and move messages out of Trash before they're automatically deleted. Or you can permanently delete messages from Trash.

Find messages in Trash

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Hover over your label list on the left side of Gmail (under the compose button).
  3. Click More at the bottom of your label list (you may need to scroll down).
    More link
     
  4. Select Trash.
    Spam label

    If you don’t see Trash under More , look for Trash towards the top of your label list.
     

Recover deleted messages

  1. Find the message in Trash (see above).
  2. Open the message (or select the checkbox next to it).
  3. Click the Move to icon.
    Gmail Move to icon
     
  4. Choose where you want to move the message to, such as Inbox or another label.


Permanently delete messages manually

If you want to permanently delete a message right away, you can do it manually.

  1. Go to Trash (see directions above).
  2. To delete messages individually, open or select the message and click the Delete forever.
  3. To delete all messages in Trash at once, click the Empty Trash now link directly above the messages.

Learn More