We’ve all had that terrifying moment when we’re scrolling through our emails and click something wrong by accident. Sometimes it’s opening a new folder, other times it’s ‘responding’ instead of ‘responding to all,’ but there’s hardly anything worse than deleting something important when you didn’t mean to. There goes that response letter you’ve been keeping for years; rest in peace, draft letter you’ve been working on for weeks; guess you’ll have to do without this week’s passwords.
The issue becomes even more prevalent on mobile devices when every function is readily available at a swipe or a touch. It’s convenient, sure, but it’s not very forgiving when you accidentally poke the wrong icon! It’s unnervingly easy to accidentally touch the little trash can icon with your finger instead of ‘reply’ or ‘archive.’ Luckily Gmail has a way you can recover deleted emails – even if they aren’t appearing in the trash folder. The solution is pretty painless too.
Here’s the easy four-step process that will help you recover any lost emails.
How to recover deleted emails in Gmail in 4 easy steps
1. Open your Gmail
Navigate to your Gmail. Sign in to your account, put in your password and you’ll be looking at your Inbox.
2. Open the search bar drop-down
There’s a search bar at the top of your Gmail where it says ‘Search mail.’ On the right of that search portal, there’s a drop-down icon. Click that.
3. Refine your search
Upon clicking the drop-down, you’ll be presented with a variety of key questions pertaining to the email you’re trying to recover. These will be questions like who the recipient (or original sender) was and when it was sent. You can further refine the search by adjusting the size of the email, saying whether it had attachments, what folder you had it in (it’s set to All Mail by default), and even keywords that might have been in the email.
4. Click the ‘Search’ button
After you’ve set your search filters (remember a wider net is probably best) click the blue Search on the bottom right. This will bring up a list of any and all emails that match the search parameters you set. If the email or draft you’re trying to recover is anywhere, it’ll be here.
If you find this issue happens to you consistently, remember that you don’t have to delete emails from your inbox just to get rid of them. You can archive them to a sub-folder elsewhere to be deleted at a later date.
The only instance where this trick won’t work is if Gmail deletes the messages from the server. Then you’ll only be able to recover it if you’re a Google Apps user. You’ll only have 30 days to do it though, unless you’re on the Admin console. From there, you can restore messages even if they were permanently deleted from a user’s Trash within 25 days of deletion. It’ll still be gone forever after those 25 days, though. Follow these steps:
1. Sign in to your Admin console
This is where administrators manage Google services, and is accessed via admin.google.com.
2. Open ‘Users’
On the home page you’ll see a tab that says Users. Click on it and you’ll be shown a list.
3. Select the user
Navigate to the user in question and click More then Restore data.
4. Specify when this email was sent
Put in a date range for the email you’re looking to restore, then pick ‘Gmail.’ NOTE: You can also recover documents from Google Drive this way.
5. Click ‘restore’
Click the restore option and the user you selected should find that their lost email has been restored. Keep in mind that it might take a little while depending on how much data you’re attempting to restore.
With luck, you won’t accidentally delete any important emails anyway! If such a fate befalls you, however, at least now you’ll know how to get them back!