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How to Delete All Unread Emails in Gmail

How to Delete All Unread Emails in Gmail

Need to get rid of a big bunch of unread messages quickly? Find out below how to delete all unread emails in Gmail in one go.

First, Awake or Sweet: Pick One

When adenosine receptors are activated, sweet tastes even sweeter. While caffeine keeps you awake, it meddles with those adenosine receptors: it blocks their activation. You are awake then—to life’s missing sweetness.

Now, it if it is all those unread emails in Gmail that keep you awake, you can make the whole lot disappear quickly. Sweet, is it not?

Let’s get started!

How to Delete All Unread Emails in Gmail

To find and delete all unread emails in Gmail, no matter in what label or folder they may hide:

  1. Open Gmail’s desktop version in a browser.
  2. Click in the search field at the top.
    • Tip: With Gmail keyboard shortcuts enabled, you can also press /.
  3. Type “is:unread in:anywhere”
    • Tip: You can use the down arrow to select Gmail auto-complete entries for the two terms after typing “is:” and “in:” respectively. After highlighting the desired completion, just keep typing to add more.
  4. Press Enter.
  5. Now click the Select button in the toolbar.
    • Tip: The corresponding Gmail keyboard shortcut here is * a.
  6. Make sure to click Select all conversation that match this search if Gmail displays it at the top.
    • This means more emails than fit on one page of Gmail search results are unread. Clicking makes sure all these emails are selected, not just those you see listed on the first page.
  7. Click Delete in the toolbar or, with keyboard shortcuts enabled, press #.
    • Note: This will move all unread emails to the Trash label. From there, they will be permanently deleted after 30 days; you can also empty the Gmail Trash manually, though.

(Deleting all unread emails in Gmail tested with Gmail in a desktop browser; updated September 2017; title image: Depositphotos/DepositNovic)

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Heinz Tschabitscher

Has been writing about email, communication and technology in an engaging and informative manner since 1997. Find out more.