How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

Deleting an important email can be a nightmare. The good news is that Gmail has made it incredibly easy to undo this process. So simple in fact, that from the Gmail homepage (your inbox) you are only 4 clicks away from un-deleting the email.

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Below are two guides:

  • One to show you how to recover deleted emails from Gmail.
  • A second guide for recovering deleted Gmail emails from your mobile device.

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How to recover deleted emails in Gmail 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to recovering deleted emails from your Gmail account on your desktop. The whole process should take less than 30 seconds.

Step 1 – Gmail’s Trash/Bin folder

Go to your Gmail inbox

On the left of the screen, there is a list of folders (Inbox, Starred, Spam, etc). Your deleted emails will be in a folder called “Trash”, or “Bin” (these are the same folder, but named differently depending on the user’s language settings).

If you can’t see a folder called “Trash” or “Bin”, then click “More” at the bottom of the list. This will show all your Gmail folders, and you will now find the correct folder.

Note: Many of your other folders will have a number to the right of them. This is the number of unread emails that are in this folder. However, the Trash/Bin folder will never show a number, despite it containing unread emails.

How to locate Gmail’s bin folder

Step 2 – Recover your deleted email

Now that you’ve found the folder containing your deleted emails, you can start to recover them. Look inside the folder for the email you wish to recover and click on the box to the far left of the email row to select the email.

Select your deleted email to recover it.

Once you’ve found and selected the right emails, click “Move to” in the row of buttons above the list of emails. From the drop-down menu that now appears, you can select where to put the deleted email.

Move your deleted email to inbox to recover it

Moving it to any folder except the “Trash” or “Bin” folder will recover the email from deletion. If you don’t want to organize the email, you can simply click the “Inbox” option, and the deleted email will be put back in your inbox.

Recover deleted Gmail emails on iOS/Android

The process for recovering deleted emails from Gmail is pretty much the same for mobile devices as on desktop.

First, find the deleted email in the folder named “Trash” or “Bin”.

When you’ve found the email in the folder, tap it to open it.

Once the deleted email is open, you’ll see three dots in the top-right corner of the screen. Tap this button, and the options for email actions will appear.

You can recover deleted email in Gmail from mobile too

From these options, press “Move to”. Select a new folder – “Inbox” will work fine if you don’t want to organize the email elsewhere.

With this done, the email will be recovered from deletion, and won’t be removed from your inbox after 30 days.

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail after 30 days

Gmail deletes all messages that have been in the “Trash”/”Bin” or the “Spam” folder for more than 30 days. This is done automatically and permanently and is impossible to undo or to recover these emails. 

Note: These are the only folders from which Gmail will automatically delete emails. If your emails are being deleted from other folders, such as “Inbox” or “Sent”, then an external third party is doing this, and you should contact Google Support.

Emails deleted from the trash in Gmail

In the Trash folder of Gmail, there is an option for “Delete forever”. This is a very literally-named button. Emails deleted from Gmail’s Trash folder are removed permanently. There is no way to get them back.

So, be careful when clicking “Delete forever” in Gmail. Emails in the Trash folder are automatically deleted after 30 days, so it’s recommended to simply leave the email there. If you do need to recover the email, you’ll have a window of a month to do so.

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