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What to do if your Gmail is not receiving emails

It's not very common, but there are a few reasons that your emails aren't arriving.
By
December 6, 2023
Gmail on smartphone stock photo 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Gmail is the most stable and reliable email service in existence, but there are still technical snafus that stop your emails from reaching the inbox now and again. This can amount to a minor disaster if the email is important (such as a lucrative job offer). So, what do you do when your Gmail is not receiving emails? Here’s a list of troubleshooting tips you can try if emails are not received in Gmail.

QUICK ANSWER

If your Gmail is not receiving emails, it could come down to a variety of things. The first thing is to check that the email hasn't gone to another folder by mistake (such as the spam folder). You can also check your storage level to see if you've run out of space. And don't forget that your inbox settings could also be misconfigured.

Check your spam folder first

Let’s start with the easy option. Even though Gmail’s spam filters are very advanced, they can still snag your emails up in the spam folder. This can be due to a word in the email triggering the spam filter or many other Gmail users marking that email sender as spam.

gmail not spam

If you see the email in spam, you can bring it out again by either clicking Report not spam or selecting Move To > Inbox.

gmail move to inbox

If an email from a particular sender is always going to spam, you can set up a Gmail filter and specify Never send to spam.

Check your trash folder next

The next step is to see if the email is in your trash. When deleting another email, it’s very easy to get carried away and unintentionally delete another one. So check the trash folder next. Or, in the Gmail search bar, type in:trash <email keyword>.

Check to see if a filter is archiving the email unread

Still haven’t found your missing email yet? The next step is to see if a filter has been set up that’s stopping your email from reaching the inbox.

For example, you may have set up a filter automatically attaching a label to emails from a specific sender. But you may have also accidentally told the filter to archive the email too. So your “missing” email is actually there, but it’s in the label folder.

Just click on the relevant label on the left-hand side of the inbox and see if your email is sitting there. If it is, go to your filters list and amend the filter to stop it from happening again.

gmail filter list

Check your Google account storage level

google account storage

Google gives everyone a very generous 15GB of free storage space, but it’s amazing how fast that storage can get eaten up. All it takes is some huge email attachments, and suddenly you’re getting prompts to upgrade your Google account storage. Don’t forget that other Google services — such as Drive and Photos — also count toward your total storage.

You can go to your general storage overview page to see how your current storage is used. If you’re getting close to the limit, or you’ve reached your limit, then Gmail could be blocking big emails from reaching you until you upgrade. If you don’t want to upgrade to a paid plan, consider deleting some things from Gmail, Drive, or Photos.

Check your Gmail IMAP and POP settings

If you use Gmail’s IMAP or POP settings, then it’s a good idea to check that those are working as they should.

To see if they’re switched on, go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP page, and scroll down. You can easily switch on IMAP and POP there if they are disabled.

gmail IMAP not receiving emails

Check to see if your emails are being forwarded elsewhere

In the Gmail settings, you can automatically forward some or all emails to another email address. But again, filters can be very fickle things, or maybe you’ve forgotten you’re forwarding certain emails to another email address.

gmail not receiving emails

Go to Gmail’s Forwarding and POP/IMAP settings tab and see if your email forwarding has been turned on. Also, check your filters list to see if a particular sender is being forwarded elsewhere.

Check to see if your Gmail mobile app is configured correctly

If you’re using Gmail’s mobile app, it’s entirely possible you haven’t set up the app correctly. Or maybe you reset the password on the desktop and forgot to change it on the mobile version?

Tap on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner, and your accounts box will come up. Tap Manage accounts on this device.

gmail mobile app account list not receiving emails

Remove the account you’re not receiving emails from by tapping Remove from this device.

gmail signout mobile not receiving emails
Mark O'Neill / Android Authority

Now, re-register the Gmail account on the app, making sure to get the login details correct.

Check to see if you have an internet connection

Google Pixel 7 Wi Fi toggle
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

This one may sound silly, but we often overlook the obvious. If your Gmail is not receiving emails, maybe your Wi-Fi connection has suddenly blinked out, and you haven’t noticed. Or perhaps your internet connection is a bit sluggish, making it difficult for Gmail to send large emails?

Whatever the reason, turn your Wi-Fi connection off and then on again. If that doesn’t work, restart your computer or phone. If the Wi-Fi connection is still really bad or totally gone, it’s time to reset your router. But before that, maybe do a speed test first?

If you’re on your phone, check your data plan. Do you still have data, or have you run out? Have you even got your mobile internet switched on? Also, check your signal strength in the area you’re in. Big cities and towns will have excellent 4G LTE coverage, but you could be struggling to get decent reception in rural areas.


AQs

Your notifications may not be working because you haven’t enabled them. In the desktop Gmail General settings, scroll down to Desktop notifications and switch them on. If it still doesn’t work, maybe you’ve told your browser to block all notifications for Gmail? In that case, you need to enable them again in the browser settings. Go into the Gmail settings and device settings in the mobile app, and enable notifications.