How to Delete Gmail Messages on Your Android

If you haven’t noticed it yet, Google’s latest update to the Gmail app on your Android smartphone somehow replaced the Delete button or the Trash icon to Archiving. I often use the Gmail app on my smartphone to clear up all unwanted email, and the Delete button proved to be mighty useful. As much as Google thinks we love our email, truth is, not a lot of email messages get archived. Rather, with the huge number of newsletters, promotions, and updates we subscribe to, we probably end up trashing most of them as compared to archiving. For users like me who prefer to have the Gmail button on screen to do its job, there is a simple fix.

How to Delete Gmail Messages on Your Android

1. Open up the Gmail app on your Android.

2. Navigate to Gmail settings. You’ll probably find it in your Gmail menu.

gmail app settings

3. Click General settings.

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delete gmail messages - general settings

4. In the General Settings page, click Archive & delete actions.

archive and delete actions

5. In the screen that pops up, you have three options before you; Show archive only, show delete only, or show both archive and delete. The Show archive only option is enabled by default.

6. Change it to Show delete only.

gmail app show delete only

Now head back to your messages and you should be able to see that much wanted Trash icon.

Swipe to Delete Gmail Messages

Now, if you aren’t already aware, you can delete messages in conversation view by simply swiping them across the screen. This should be a much better way of dealing with unwanted messages. This option should be enabled by default, but if its not, just head over back to the General settings page and tap Swipe to Delete. If you are concerned that you may accidentally delete messages, you can enable the Confirm before deleting option, so that messages don’t simply disappear. But don’t worry; they won’t anyway. Deleted messages don’t disappear right away but sit in the Trash for at least 30 days.

You can get them back before that time.

Do you use the Delete icon on your Gmail app?

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  • Updated December 26, 2015
Adeline Gear

Adeline is a tech enthusiast who loves exploring the latest tools and applications in the marketplace. She also loves her Android and spends time reviewing apps and playing games when she has the time.