How to Empty Your Gmail Inbox Quickly

Get a fresh start with an empty Gmail inbox

What to Know

  • Enter in:inbox in the Gmail search field, select the check box at the top of the Select column, then select the trashcan.
  • Deleted emails stay in the Trash folder for 30 days before disappearing forever.
  • To empty your Gmail inbox in other mail programs, select all messages and move them to the trash.

This article explains how to empty your Gmail inbox quickly in a web browser or in any mail client you have linked to Gmail.

How to Empty Your Gmail Inbox Quickly

To archive or delete all emails in your Gmail inbox at one time, open Gmail and:

  1. Enter in:inbox in the Gmail search field.

    in:inbox in the Gmail search box
  2. Select the check box at the top of the Select column to choose all the emails.

    If you have tons of emails in the Inbox, you might see a link called Select all conversations that match this search. Choose that link to select everything in the Inbox.

    A Gmail inbox with the Select All button highlighted

    When you search for everything in your inbox, the selection includes messages in the inbox tabs, including Primary and Social.

  3. To archive all messages from the inbox, click the Archive button, which is located immediately to the right of the Select check box in the header. When messages are archived, the messages are still available through All Mail and search, but those messages are gone from your Gmail inbox.

    Gmail with the Archive button highlighted
  4. To delete all messages instead of archiving messages, select the trashcan to move the emails to your Trash folder, from which messages are permanently deleted after 30 days.

    Gmail with the Trash button highlighted

Empty Your Gmail Inbox in Other Mail Apps

If you have set up Gmail in Outlook or another mail program using IMAP, you can empty your inbox there quickly as well:

  1. Open the inbox folder.

  2. Select all messages by pressing Ctrl+A on Windows and Linux or Command+A on a Mac.

  3. Move the messages to an archive folder or delete messages in bulk.

Keep Your Gmail Inbox Clean

Emptying your Gmail inbox is only useful if you manage it better going forward. Gmail offers tools to help you with that. Use inbox tabs, for example, to have incoming mail organized automatically or focus solely on priority messages in your Gmail inbox.

To avoid emails piling up in your inbox, set up Gmail new mail notifications to deal with messages as they arrive.

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