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How to recover deleted emails from Gmail

Maybe that email was important after all.

Published onMay 24, 2023

Unless you’re a digital packrat, you will eventually start deleting emails from your Gmail account. But what if you’re a little too enthusiastic with that delete button clicking, and you end up deleting something you shouldn’t have? Can you get it back? Well — yes and no. Let’s take a look at how to recover deleted emails from Gmail.


To recover a deleted email from Gmail, you can get it back if it's in the trash. Deleted emails will stay in the trash for 30 days. If it's deleted from the trash, it's impossible to get back unless you're backing up your emails to your computer using IMAP/POP.


How to recover deleted emails from the Gmail trash (Android and iOS)

Gmail on smartphone stock photo 7
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. Tap on the three-line menu button.
  3. Select Trash (it may also be called Bin or something else).
  4. Find the email you want to recover. If you deleted it some time ago, you can search for it using the in:trash search string.
  5. Long-press on the email. You’ll see a checkmark replacing the icon on the left.
  6. Tap the three-dot menu button.
  7. Choose Move to.
  8. This will then bring up a list of folders and labels in your Gmail account. Select where you would like to send the email. Usually, Primary is best. Or you may want to send the email back to its original label. It’s entirely up to you.

How to recover deleted emails from the Gmail trash (desktop)

Gmail on tablet stock photo 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  1. Go to the Gmail website.
  2. On the left column, select Trash.
  3. Checkmark the email you want to recover.
  4. Select the Move to icon. It looks like a folder with an arrow pointing to the right.
  5. Pick Inbox, or any of the other folders and labels.


Once an email has been in the Trash for 30 days, Gmail automatically deletes it.

In general, no. If you’re only using the web version of Gmail, then deleted emails from Trash are gone forever. However, if you’re backing up your emails to a local email client using IMAP/POP, then you could, in theory, retrieve the deleted email from your computer. Recuva is an excellent free Windows program for this purpose, but there’s no guarantee it will recover the email.

If Gmail emails are going directly to the trash, then it will be due to a filter. Go to your Filters settings and review any filters you have set up for that particular email address.

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