How to Find and Delete Old Emails in Gmail

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Cleaning the inbox is a task that most do not enjoy. but if you don’t stay on top of things, you can end up with a mess of outdated and unnecessary emails. we’ll show you how to quickly find and delete old emails in gmail.

search for old emails in gmail

gmail offers a handy search feature that allows you to find emails from or to someone specific or with a particular word in the subject line. but to find emails that are older than a certain number of years, months, or days, all you need is the search box.

related: how to search gmail by date

at the top of gmail, enter the following in the search box to find emails that are more than a year old:

you can replace the 1 with a different number to find emails older than two, three, four or more years.

Also, you can use a different time period. To find emails that are older than a certain number of months or days, use these expressions:

again, replace the 1 with the number of months (m) or days (d) and see your results.

search emails in tag folders

if you use gmail tags, you will see the folders for those tags in the left navigation bar. so if you want to clean one or two, you can also use the above search expressions within them.

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selects the folder one tag to the left. then you will see the expression appear in the search field.

after the inserted phrase, type a space and then one of the old_than expressions above right after it. In the screenshot below, we’re looking in our newsletter label (folder) for emails that are more than six months old.

then you have a list of old emails that exist within that tag’s folder.

filter more

The nice thing about using the search expressions above, in addition to quickly viewing old emails, is that you can further filter your results.

after searching, you will see several buttons at the top. these allow you to filter your search results by things like has attachment, from, to, and unread.

Filter buttons for search in Gmail

Simply select one of these filters to narrow down your search results. this is ideal if you want to find only old emails with attachments, for example, but want to keep a few others that you might need.

To remove a filter after applying it, simply click on it again. to perform a deeper search, click “advanced search” to the right of the buttons.

delete found emails

Once you find those stale emails, filter or review them, and are ready to delete them, it’s an easy task.

related: why you should delete emails instead of archiving them

Confirm that the emails you see are the ones you want to delete. if so, check the box to the left of the top toolbar. this selects all emails and you can see the total number selected at the bottom.

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All emails selected in Gmail

If you prefer to limit the selection, you can use the arrow next to the checkbox to choose an option such as read, unread, featured, or unfeatured.

Selection filters

When you’re ready, click the trash can icon on the toolbar to delete the emails.

You will not be prompted to confirm this action! so if you delete an email by mistake, go to the trash folder on the left sidebar. select the email, and then move it where you want, like your inbox or a label’s folder.

Trash folder in the sidebar

Please note that emails in the trash are automatically deleted after 30 days.

If you’re ready to do some inbox or folder cleanup in gmail, consider getting rid of those old and unneeded emails. after that, think about deleting the spam emails that are piling up!

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