I used to subscribe to lots of emails from online retailers. As a result, I have thousands of these emails stored in folders (also known as “labels”) in Gmail. After deciding it was time for a cleanup, I discovered that mass deleting emails in Gmail is not that intuitive. So, here’s how to do it.
1. Click on the folder / label you want to empty
In the example below, I clicked on the “Build.com” folder to display the emails in it.
2. Click on the “Select All” checkbox
Click on the “Select All” checkbox to select all the emails on the page.
Note: this does not select all the emails in the folder, just the ones visible on the page. So, if you have Gmail set to display 50 emails per page, you will only select 50 emails.
3. Click on the “Select all conversations in folder” link
Although prominently positioned, it’s quite easy to miss this link unless you know it’s there. In this example, I would click on the Select all 219 conversations in “Retail Emails/Retail – Home/Build.com” link to select all the emails in the folder.
4. Click on the “Delete” icon
Click on the trash can icon to remove the emails from the folder.
5. Click “OK” in the “Confirm bulk action” dialog
Last chance to change your mind! Otherwise, click “OK” in the dialog that pops up to delete all the emails in the folder and send them to the Trash folder.
Note: You can also just tap the Enter / Return key instead of clicking the OK button if you prefer to use a keyboard shortcut.
Be aware that these deleted emails are not yet completely deleted from Gmail; they have been moved to the Trash folder from which they will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
If you want to delete the emails from your Trash folder now, here’s how you do it:
6. Open the “Trash” folder
Scroll down the list of folders / labels on the left until you see “More” at the bottom.
Click on the “More” link and scroll down again to view the “Trash” folder. Click on the Trash folder to view all the emails within it, including your newly deleted ones.
7. Empty the Trash folder
No need to select all the emails in the folder this time. Simply click on the “Empty Trash now” link to permanently delete these emails from Gmail.
That’s it! If you want to keep Gmail tidy, you can now delete the empty folder that’s left over.
8. Delete empty folder
View the folder in the left navigation and hold your mouse over the folder name so that an icon with three vertical dots displays.
Click on this icon to display a pop-up menu and click on the “Remove label” option.
A confirmation dialog will display, so click on the “Delete” button or just tap the Enter / Return button on your keyboard to delete the folder from Gmail.