How to recover your deleted emails in Gmail

How to recover your deleted emails in Gmail

In this guide, I show you how to get your missing emails back from Gmail if:

  • You’ve permanently deleted an email and want to get in touch with the people at Google to try and recover it, or:
  • You think an email may be in Trash or somewhere else and you need help finding it.

I’ve made a Youtube video that explains all the steps in this tutorial. Or, read on!

Lock down your account

Before we find your missing emails, if you think someone might have accessed your account and deleted your emails, it’s important that you change your password right away so you are the only person who has access to it. So if you need to change the password, open the Gmail website or the Gmail app.

Click on the circle in the top right, then Manage Your Google Account.

Then go to Security, then scroll down to Signing in to Google, then Password. You’ll need to type in your current password, and then choose a new one.

While you’re on the Security page, it’s a good idea to check your Recent activity, and if you think someone else has signed in from another device you can lock them out here.

You should also look through Your devices, and if you see any unusual devices here you can sign them out here.

Use the Gmail website

For the rest of this guide you should use the Gmail website on a computer if you can. The website is If you don’t have a computer, then you should open the web browser on your mobile device and go to the Gmail website.

Why do I suggest this? You could be using any mail app, and your screen will look different to mine.

And sometimes mail apps stop syncing properly, so if you go to the Gmail website you might find your missing emails right away. If that’s the case then brilliant, you just need to go into the Settings of your mail app and remove the Gmail account. I’m not going to talk you through that here because there are so many mail apps. You would add your Gmail account to the app again, and then your emails should start to sync properly.

So for the rest of the guide I’m going to assume you’re on the Gmail website and you’re signed in.

Check the Trash

When you delete any email, it goes into a place called Trash, where it’s kept for 30 days and then deleted permanently. This might seem obvious if you’re an experienced Gmail user, but we’re being thorough here.

Your Trash is in the list of labels on the left of the web page. You’ll need to click on More and then Trash. (Or if you’re British like me, it will be called Bin).

You will see any emails you’ve deleted recently. To recover one of them, tick the box next to it. Then find the Move To button, which is at the top. Click this, and then select Inbox.

If you check your Inbox now, the email should be there.

By the way, if your Trash is completely empty and you were expecting to see some emails in it, that’s a sign you may have been hacked. So make sure you lock your account down like I showed you earlier in this guide.

Check Spam and other labels

Another place we need to look is in Spam, which is where any unsolicited emails go. It’s over on the left again.

Gmail will sometimes put emails in spam on its own, but it’s also easy to mark an email as spam by accident. Anything left in Spam will be deleted after 30 days.

So if you find your missing email in here, put a tick next to it, then click Not Spam. And the email will go back to where it’s supposed to be, which is usually the Inbox.

As we’re looking through these labels, it’s worth looking through all of them to see if you can find your missing emails. If you see a little triangle on a label, it opens up and there could be more labels inside, so make sure you look in there.

When I’ve helped people looking for their missing emails, we sometimes find that there’s more than one Trash or Deleted label, because they’ve had an email app on their phone or computer that’s left it there. So have a look in all the labels for your emails.

Check All Mail

You’ll find a place called All Mail on the left.

In theory, All Mail should contain any emails that are in your Inbox or in any labels. So this is an important place to look.

Check in Sent

You’ve also got Sent Mail, which people usually overlook.

Say you’ve lost an email that someone sent to you. If you replied to their email, or forwarded it to someone, than that reply may contain the text from the original email, even if the original was deleted.

So make sure you look in Sent.

Search for emails

If you know exactly which email you’re looking for, you can search for it in the Search Bar near the top of the Gmail website. This Search Bar is one of the best things about Gmail – it’s fast and it nearly always works.

Type in a word from the subject, or from the body of the email. Or, type the name of the person.

Here’s the important bit though – we might have deleted this email, so we need to make sure we’re looking everywhere, including the Trash. So click on the button to the right, which is Show Search Options. And down where it says Search – All Mail, change it to Mail & Spam & Trash (or & Bin).

Fill in as this form with as much info as you can about the email, and then click Search.

And you can see a couple of these emails had been deleted.

Contact Google (free accounts)

If you’re using free Gmail you can’t just phone Google.

However they do provide a tool:

Then follow the instructions on the screen. You don’t get many options here, and Google only offer to recover emails from the last 30 days, but it has to be worth a try. When you send the form off, you normally hear back pretty quickly. The tool doesn’t always work, but I have seen this tool recover permanently deleted emails on a number of occasions.

Contact Google (Google One subscribers)

If you pay for Google One, even if you’re only paying £1.59 a month, then you can get help from a Google Expert. Chat or email:

I guess if you’re desperate to recover missing emails then paying a small amount for support might seem the best way to go.

Contact Google (Workspace users)

If you use Google Workspace at work or school, then you should contact the administrator, that’s the IT person at your place of work who looks after everyone’s Google accounts. They will have access to tools that may help you get your emails back.

If you are the administrator, you can contact Google for technical support. You will need to go to the Google Admin Console, and in the top right, click on the question mark. Then click Contact Support. The level and speed of support you’ll get from Google depends on which Workspace plan you’re on, and whether you’ve paid for extra support.

Are filters being used?

I just want to cover one final thing, and that’s if you are losing emails on a regular basis, there could be something within Gmail that’s automatically deleting them. Gmail has something called filters. Let me show you.

Click on Settings, then See all Settings.

Then click Filters and Blocked Addresses.

You can see I’ve got these 2 filters set up, so if an email comes in with ‘crypto’ or ‘pharmacy’ in the subject, it gets deleted – because I get loads of unwanted emails containing those words. But that could delete an important email that happens to contain one of those words, so I think it’s a good idea to remove these filters.

Also, you might see a list of email addresses here that have been blocked. So if someone’s emails aren’t getting through to your inbox, you might need to unblock them, and this is where you do it.

And if you’re using email software like Outlook or Thunderbird, that might have its own rules or filters, so have a good look through those settings for anything that could be blocking or deleting emails.