How to Delete Gmail Items In Bulk

One bad habit I have is letting my Gmail inbox get too big. I don’t always delete emails as fast as I should. These accrued items tend to be non-urgent items I get on a recurring basis that I haven’t flagged as a priority. Eventually, I reach that tipping point and want to delete these Google emails in mass. There are many ways to delete Gmail items, but here’s one tutorial that requires minimal effort and you can do at your own pace.

The key to this strategy is to first delete emails from folks that send you email, but you don’t reply or correspond to that email address. While you may be the lone recipient, the content is generic. Some examples include:

  • Newsletters you no longer read
  • Daily coupon or deals emails
  • System status messages
  • Promotions from merchants
  • Product announcements
  • Old webinar reminders

Finding and Deleting Email From Frequent Senders

  1. Glance at your inbox and look for frequent senders of email. In my case, I have a number of newsletter subscriptions and alerts.
  2. Hover your mouse over the sender’s email address. Technically, you don’t need to open the email as you can do this from your email list. A small dialog pops up with additional buttons.
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  4. Click the More button and select Recent Conversations. Google will display a list of all the emails that match the sender’s address. This will include email they’ve sent you and any email you’ve sent them.
  5. Review the results to make sure you wish to delete all the emails from this sender. If you see any starred items, you might want to use the Unstarred item from the menu instead of checking the box.
  6. Check the box in the top left corner to select all the emails that show. If you have more matching emails than your display setting, you’ll also see another link, Select all conversations that match this search.
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  8. Click the Delete button at the top.
  9. Click OK on the dialog asking you to confirm email deletion.

Deleting Emails Based On A Common String

The above strategy works well when you want to delete all the content from that sender. But, sometimes situations arise where the sender sends out multiple types of emails under one email address. In this case, you just want to delete a subset.

As example, I’m an Amazon Web Services customer. If I look at my recent conversations, I can tell there are certain items I want to keep and certain items I want to delete.


In looking at the email subject lines, I can see a pattern – Amazon Web Services Newsletter, which I’ve highlighted above. I simply copy and paste this common string into the search box above the emails. I tend to wrap the phrase with quotes. When I click the Search Mail button, I’ll get a filtered email list where I can delete emails in quantity.


The above steps for deleting Gmail email in bulk won’t get you to “inbox zero” in one fell swoop. However, it will give you the tools to chip away at large chunks of email.