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How to Find Deleted Emails in Gmail

Alessio has reported security vulnerabilities to Google and Apple. He also has a past as a web developer and web server administrator.

Photo taken at a Google event. Google owns Gmail, one of the most popular email providers.

Photo taken at a Google event. Google owns Gmail, one of the most popular email providers.

The Benefits of Using Gmail

Gmail is one of the most appreciated email services due to its anti-spam filter, advanced features, and the general trust that people place in Google services.

Gmail's friendly interface is the final thing that has conquered millions of users worldwide, making them choose Google's email service as their favorite email service.

Email Searching Made Easy

Gmail's interface makes it easy to organize messages. Labels are an intuitive way to categorize your emails and avoid the risk of losing an important conversation in a multitude of messages.

To further help people find their emails, a powerful search engine allows you to set custom parameters to increase your chances of finding the right message. You can look up keywords featured in the email's subject or the body and exclude other words from appearing in your search results. Then, you can look for emails sent before or after a specific date.

In this way, even someone archiving thousands of emails will find it easy to search for specific messages.

Searching for Deleted Emails

Searching emails in your Gmail account is easy due to Google's friendly interface and efficient search engine; still, the situation changes when you look for messages you have moved to your trash bin.

There are various reasons why you may want to search for deleted emails:

  • Sometimes it happens to deleted emails by error, especially if you receive a lot of newsletters and promotional emails: maybe you have trashed all of them in a hurry without realizing there was something interesting, and you want to recover it;
  • Sometimes, emails get trashed by error, primarily because of a wrongly set filter or an anti-spam measure, so you want to make sure a message you are looking for is not trashed accidentally;
  • You don't find an email in your mailbox, and want to ensure you have not moved it to the trash bin.

Whatever the reason why you want to search for conversations in Gmail's trash bin, the fact is that it is not always easy to look for them. While Gmail allows a seamless search of messages in the whole mailbox, it seems not to consider trashed emails.

If you are using a PC, you may get an alert that some messages featuring the keyword you have typed may be in the trash bin; still, the process could be more intuitive. If you're using Gmail's app on a mobile device, chances are that you can't even get this notice.

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How to Search for Deleted Emails on a PC

Searching for deleted emails on a PC is still easy, provided you pay attention to looking for them without searching within your whole inbox.

For example, suppose you want to search for emails containing the keyword "invoice." In this case, you first search for them in the whole Gmail inbox, and after this, you perform another search just in the trash bin.

Searching for Trashed Emails on a PC

Searching for Trashed Emails on a PC

To proceed, you should

  1. Click on the Trash label;
  2. Look at the search bar, which will present an in:trash parameter.

As soon as you add the keywords of your interest (in this case, "invoice") after the parameter, Gmail will search for the emails just within the trash bin.

Every time you need to perform this again, you can type the in:trash parameter to perform the search, even without opening the trash bin.

How to Search for Deleted Emails Using Gmail Mobile App

The passage involving clicking on the trash label doesn't work on Gmail mobile app. Moreover, there's no obvious way to search for deleted emails on Android or iOS.

Luckily, the in:trash parameter also works with the Gmail mobile app, allowing you to search for deleted emails as if you were using a PC.

Searching for Deleted Emails by Using Gmail Mobile App

Searching for Deleted Emails by Using Gmail Mobile App


The lack of an explicit feature to search for deleted emails in Gmail has made some users believe it is impossible, especially using the mobile app. The fact is that Gmail allows you to do it just by typing a parameter. Once you know it, you can search for deleted emails, even using your mobile device.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

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