We’ve all done it: inadvertently hit Delete on an important email and condemned it to the scrap heap. Thankfully, Google knows that this happens and has made it possible for you to recover deleted messages in just a few simple steps.
Recover a Single Email from the Trash Folder
1. Log in to your Gmail account.
2. In the menu on the left hand side of the screen, scroll down to click on the Trash folder.
3. Scroll to locate the email you want to recover.
4. Alternatively, use the Advanced Search by clicking on the arrow next to the search box at the top of the screen.
5. Enter the recipient’s email in the From field and/or any other information you know about the email.
6. Click Search.
7. Once you’ve located the email you want to recover, check the box on the left hand side to select it.
8. Click the Move to icon at the top of the page, and select Inbox in the drop down list.
9. A confirmation pop-up will appear in the bottom left of the screen, which gives you the opportunity to undo this command.
10. Your deleted email can now be found in your inbox.
Note that you can choose to move your deleted email to any folder, not just your inbox.
Recover Multiple Emails
To retrieve more than one email from your Trash folder, repeat the above process, but select all of the emails you wish to move to your inbox.
Can’t Find Your Trash Folder?
If you’ve scrolled through the left-hand menu and you can’t find your trash, don’t worry: it may have been hidden from view.
1. Go to Settings (the cog on the right hand side of the Gmail dashboard), and scroll to Settings.
2. Go to the Labels tab and scroll to Trash (or Bin).
3. Click Show, to ensure the trash folder appears in your menu.
Recover Emails That Have Been Emptied from the Trash Folder
Emails that have been moved to your trash will be permanently deleted after 30 days, and after this time you will be unable to recover them.
If you do need to retrieve a permanently deleted email (and you’re within the 30-day time frame) Google suggests placing a request on their Message Recovery Tool.
However, Google clearly points out that emails that have been permanently deleted are unlikely to be retrievable, unless it has happened as a result of someone hacking your account.
Mistakes happen when you’re managing a busy email account, and it’s easy to accidentally send an email to the trash. Thankfully, Gmail gives you 30 days in which to retrieve them, and the process is relatively simple.
That said, if you wait longer than 30 days, or accidentally click the Delete forever button, it’s less likely that you’ll ever see your message again. Always use caution when deleting messages, and consider archiving instead.