What to do if you accidentally hit the delete button on that message in Gmail.

If Gmail is your main email account, there’s nothing quite as panic-inducing as accidentally deleting an important email, either by hitting delete while you’re reading it or swiping when you’re browsing your inbox on a mobile device and seeing that “message deleted” alert.

Alternatively, you may have decided to conduct a mass deletion of emails, such as removing those that have large attachments to free up space on your Gmail account or deleting emails that are over a certain age, thinking you’ll never need them again.

That sinking feeling as you desperately search for your home insurance confirmation email that you vaguely remember removing during a storage free-up six months ago, or tickets for an event you booked a year ago that were only sent via email is incomparable.

But worry not, all is not necessarily lost! There are plenty of ways to either find the emails you deleted accidentally, or on purpose but didn’t realise their importance at the time.

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail – look in the Trash folder

Gmail has two layers of deleting emails – deleting them as you see them from your inbox or folders, for example, and permanently removing them from the server. If you’ve simply hit delete or swiped to delete or archive them, it’s pretty likely they’ll still be residing in the trash rather than hanging out in the digital equivalent of email heaven (or ****).

Thankfully the search function in Gmail, used to discover old emails in your inbox, also works with the Trash folder. All you have to do is click on the Trash folder to access your deleted messages, then click on the search bar at the top and type in the keywords you think your email may have contained. Gmail will then present you with all the messages containing your search terms which speeds up the process of finding the email you’re searching for.

Once you’ve found the message you can move it back to your inbox, or any folder you want, by clicking on the folder icon found just under the search bar. On the other hand, you can click on the “X” next to the Trash (or Bin) label beside the email’s subject line. 

The Trash/Bin folder will retain deleted emails for up to 30 days before it permanently deletes them.

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail – what to do when a message has been emptied from the Trash folder

If you can’t find the email in the Trash folder, this may be because you have either accidentally emptied the Trash folder or hit the “Delete Forever” button on a message that was already in the Trash folder. 

If this has happened, you can send a request to the Gmail Support Team to ask it to recover these deleted messages and emails in your Gmail account. However, you should not get your hopes up as there is a very good chance that the messages have well and truly disappeared into the ether. This service is geared more towards messages that have gone missing as the result of a Gmail account being compromised.

To submit an enquiry, however, you need to go to Gmail’s missing email web page, and then fill out the form with the necessary details, such as the email address from which the emails have been deleted, whether you are currently logged in, and a short description of the problem. 

When this is all filled out, click on the Submit button. It isn’t likely that they’ll be able to find the email for you though, and the longer you wait, the less chance that an email can be recovered.

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail – I can’t find the Trash folder in Gmail!

Sometimes the Trash folder is hidden from view. If you can’t see the folder, open “Settings” via cog icon above the messages. Click on this, then the Labels tab in settings, scroll down and stop on Trash labels and click on show button. You will now be able to see the Trash folder and recover any emails found in there. 



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