Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Delete several old Gmail emails to make room. The quick and easy guide

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Deleting archived Gmail emails may become necessary when you reach the maximum storage space guaranteed by your Google account. In fact, this space is shared with other Google services, namely Drive, which allows you to store documents and other files, and to back up photos and videos, even in high resolution.

The result is clear: Your email inbox can quickly fill up space, especially if the emails you receive include large attachments.

Many users will receive the warning: Free up storage space. Unlike that? You no longer receive new emails because there is no digital space to store them and so the server sends them back to the sender; Or no more photos taken with the smartphone can be uploaded.

The space that Google provides for free accounts is shared between Drive, Gmail, and Photos

what should be done? Buying a plan that offers more storage space among those available in Google is the simplest thing: with 1.99 euros per month (or 19.99 euros per year) for the available space salt It's priced at 100GB per month, for example, but at a higher price you can get up to 2TB of cloud storage.












Another way to optimize space is Delete older content.

In this guide we focus on Gmail, the often underrated area where work emails pile up; Marketing communications to which the user has expressed consent when creating another account on a new website; Photos sent via email and more.




All that remains is to understand how to delete old emails in Gmail. However, starting from the fact that we do not want to lose them: we want to archive them and free up the space reserved by Google.









Gmail: How to delete old emails




Let's start with the guide for those who simply want to delete all emails that are no longer useful. There are different ways without having to manually delete every email (which is an unnecessarily slow process).



One of the fastest
Relying on email receipt history to essentially delete old emails Which is probably no longer useful.




In this case, you should use one of Search operators, that is, which allows you to show only emails received before or after a certain period of time or a specific date. By entering specific search operators into the search bar on the top screen of Gmail, you can refine the results that are displayed.

For example, if a user wants to view all emails older than one year, they should use the “older_than” search operator. In this case it would be “older_than:1y” (short for “1 year”) with no space between the colon and the parameter.

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By doing this, all emails older than one year will appear. The search operator also includes the use of m (abbreviation for months, months) and (for days, days) next to the number: “2d” for two days; “3m” for three months, and so on.




Imagine you want to delete all emails received since the beginning of 2024, your search should include the search operator “older_than: 2m” (i.e. 2m). Multiple parameters cannot be combined (2 months and 9 days, for example).

Another very useful factor, again with the aim of reducing the space occupied by emails, is to identify all emails that contain an attachment (such as a document or image) and therefore take up more space than others. In this case, the parameter used is “has:attachment”.

Search operators can also be combined. For example, you may choose to delete emails that are more than a year old and contain an attachment. In this case, you must enter “older_than:1y has:attachment” in the search bar without other symbols and with a space to separate the two search operators. In short: Using different search operators in Gmail, it is possible to have a very vertical filter.

Once you select the emails you want to delete, you'll be able to do so Perform a bulk actionwhich in our case is to delete all selected emails. By clicking on the box at the top left, the user will select the email list on the first page.

To directly select all emails matching your search criteria, click on the notification that appears at the top of the list.Select all conversations that match this search“. This way the user will select all pages. Then by clicking on the trash icon, the user can then quickly delete all emails that are more than a year old.



At that point it will be moved to the Trash, where it will be automatically deleted after thirty days. Otherwise, those who are in a hurry can go to the trash and empty it by pressing “Empty the trash now“At the top of the list.”




There are more useful search operators for viewing old emails on Gmail. We also mention:



  • After: day/month/year(For example, “After: 12/31/2018” to identify emails received after December 31, 2018)
  • Before: day/month/year(For example, “Before: 12/31/2018” to identify emails received before December 31, 2018)
  • Newer than: (Which allows you to show emails that are more recent by a certain number of days, months, or years)
  • From: [email protected] (which only identifies emails from a specific recipient)
  • measuring: (Which displays emails that weigh more than a certain number, which expresses the size in bytes. For example, for emails that weigh more than 10MB, you need to specify “Size:10000000”)

These are the easiest operators to use and guarantee instant results as they display multiple emails. Additional search operators allow you to refine the displayed emails and delete them in a painstaking way.

Create a backup of your Gmail emails




For many users, emails (especially work emails) can come in handy later: so deleting redundant emails should be preceded by creating a structured backup of old emails in Gmail.

To create a local archive of emails in Gmail, Google has created a tool called Get out. The latter allows you to export all data from your Google account, including, for example, contacts, calendar data or information from devices connected to the Home app.

To download emails, you will only need to select Mail.

Mail is exported in two files: one in MBOX format (which can be imported into another email service, for example) and one in JSON.

It is possible to choose which emails will be exported: whether all received and sent messages or only some categories (inbox; those labeled in a certain way; unread ones, etc.).

Creating an organized backup involves knowing which emails to keep: you rarely need them all. then, It's helpful to create a specific classification first (e.g. called “to retain” or “2023”) where emails to be retained are combined, in order to make a specific backup of that label via Takeout.

By clicking on the gear icon at the top right and then on View all settings > Labels, you can view visible and hidden items. Below is the option “Create a new labelAllows you to create a specific category, which can be nested in another category (but this is optional).

At this point, we're back to square one: search, using the main search operators, for emails to keep, select them and then use the label icon to add the displayed emails to the new label created.

This way we can then export only these emails and avoid having an archive that is too large.




Now that we have the naming organized, let's go back to Google Takeout.

From the main screen you need to select Mail only. Under “Mail”, you should then click “All postal information included” to specify the email to download; otherwise, the system will default to downloading all of them, including those in the trash.

In our case, the choice will fall on the new label created, in order to reduce the overall file size. To do this, you need to uncheck all other boxes and leave only the named box checked.

Once you choose to continue, you should click “Next Step” at the bottom of the screen.

Other export options include the file type the archive will be downloaded in (zip or tgz) and the maximum size of individual files (1GB, 2GB, 4GB etc.). Files larger than this size will be split into multiple files.

At this point, clicking Create Export will start creating the archive.




Once the file is ready, Google will send an email with a link to download the file, which will be available for 7 days.




This process will therefore allow you to free up space on Gmail, but without having to lose all your email data.

What to do with the backup?


Well, we now have an archive of old emails saved locally, which can also be moved to an external storage system (be it the cloud, a USB drive, or a NAS system). What can we do?

Leaving them there locally means not being able to read emails and, above all, the attachments they bring with them, thus representing a loophole in the idea of ​​having a slimmed-down email box and at the same time being able to access old files for consultation (if necessary).




To read emails in backup, there is a valid and complete application, available for Windows, Mac and Linux Nodemailer.

After downloading, installing and running Nodemailer, you need to click the “+” button and give the project a name (for example: “Gmail Backup”).

It is then necessary to go to the Imports section, click the “+” button at the top left, select “Import from Email Files” and choose the previously downloaded MBOX file.

At this point the import procedure will begin, which will take longer in proportion to the size of the archive.

However, even during import, it is already possible to read and interact with emails when inserting them into Nodemailer by going to the “Emails” section.

The Nodemailer screen is very similar to that of a common email inbox: on the left are the recipient, date received, and message preview; On the right is the entire content.


Wynne Dinwiddie
Wynne Dinwiddie
"Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst."
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