How to Fix: Mass Delete Gmail Inbox (Spam, Promotions, Etc)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Joni D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have a gmail account, and over the years I've signed up for a few newsletters and promotions. Long story short, my gmail inbox contains 44,000 emails in total; 38,000 of those emails are located in the 'promotions' folder. I've logged into gmail.com and tried to mass delete my gmail inbox, but I have no idea how to do that. Selecting 50 items per page and clicking 'delete' would take years to clean out my inbox. Do you know how I can mass delete my gmail inbox, spam, promotions and similar from my gmail account? "

My response:

I rarely ever use the gmail web interface (I use Thunderbird 99% of the time). That said, a bit of research revealed that it possible to mass delete gmail promotions or similar folders in a few short steps.

How to Fix: Mass Delete Gmail Inbox (Spam, Promotions, Etc)

  1. To mass delete your gmails, you first need to login to your gmail account via gmail.com.
     
  2. Once you are signed in, go to the folder that contains the majority of junk messages you want to clear. Gmail is good at recognizing promotions and spam, and will automatically redirect anything that would normally go in the Inbox into the 'Promotions' and 'Spam' folders.

    In Joni's case it was the Promotions folder that contained the majority of junk messages she wanted to clear. If your Inbox folder is overloaded and you would like to mass delete the Inbox - BUT you still have some important emails you want to keep - the best way to manage this is to move all the important messages out of the Inbox into another temporary folder, then mass delete the Inbox (described next). This will effectively start a clean slate with the least effort possible.
     
  3. To select messages for mass deletion, place a check mark in the 'selection box' (near the top of the page) by clicking it. By default, the 'selection box' is an empty box and is also located right above the first email when viewing your list of emails. Clicking this box will also check mark all subsequent messages on the page (about 50 per page).
     
  4. Just below the check-marked 'selection box' it will say something like "All 50 conversations on this page are selected". To the right of that, it will also have a link that says "Select all X conversations in [this folder]" - click this link to mark messages in the current folder for mass deletion.
     
  5. To mass delete the selected messages, click the trash bin icon which is also located near the 'selection box' at the top of the page. This will start mass deletion process and clear out your gmail Inbox / Spam or Promotions folder (or whichever folder you selected).

I hope that helps.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more questions. If you have a question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best. 

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

Focused100's picture

You can use the select all emails feature to selectively delete emails as well.
Just do a search for all the particular emails you want to delete, then click the trash bin icon, then select all of the same type of emails in the folder. Then delete. That will delete possibly thousands of emails at once. But ONLY the ones of the type you've selected.