Have you ever accidentally deleted an email thinking it was useless, when in reality, it was something you needed to reference weeks later?
We’ve all been there. So, can you recover deleted emails in Gmail and Outlook?
Yes, you can! That’s what we’ll cover in this guide – how to recover deleted emails from Gmail and Outlook.
Table of Contents
First, we need to define what we mean by “deleted,” since in most cases, “deleted” doesn’t mean “gone forever.” When you delete a message in Gmail, it isn’t truly deleted; instead, it goes to a folder called “Trash.”
Similarly, when you delete a message in Outlook, it goes to a folder called “Deleted Items” or “Trash”.
Only after deleting an item from these temporary folders, or after a certain amount of time has passed, is your email truly gone forever.
When in these email purgatory folders, it’s very easy to recover a “deleted” email. However, if the message is truly gone forever, there is little hope of recovering it.
How to Recover Deleted Emails From Gmail
You can delete a message in Gmail by clicking on the trash icon associated with it, either within the message, or by selecting several messages and clicking the trash icon that appears. In any case, a deleted email will be stored in your “Trash” folder.
Recovering a deleted email from your Trash folder is easy:
- Open the Trash folder, which you can find on the left-hand side of the desktop app, or in the hamburger menu of the Gmail app.
- Select the message or messages you wish to restore, and select them.
- Click the Move To icon, and click Inbox or the label or folder of your choice.
Deleted messages are stored in Gmail’s Trash folder for 30 days. After this period, Gmail will automatically delete your message forever.
You can also shortcut this process. After selecting messages in the Trash folder, you can click the “Delete forever” button to, well, delete the messages forever.
Once “deleted forever,” either through your actions or because 30 days have elapsed, you can almost guarantee the message is gone for good. However, there may be one last hope for you.
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How to Recover Deleted Emails From Gmail After 30 Days
If you need to recover a a permanently deleted email in Gmail after the 30-day period has elapsed, Google offers a Gmail Message Recovery Tool. It’s designed to help people recover emails that were lost due to server issues or other technical problems on Google’s end.
However, if you’re desperate, submitting a manual request to recover an email you permanently deleted can’t hurt. Follow the steps outlined by Google, and hope for the best.
One more quick note about Gmail; if you’re interested in removing a message from your inbox, but if you don’t want to risk deleting it for good, you can always Archive the message. The Archive folder is designed to help you declutter your inbox, without forcing you to resort to deleting.
How to Recover Deleted Emails From Outlook
It’s also simple to recover deleted emails from Outlook. In Outlook, you can delete a message by clicking the Trash icon next to it, or deleting emails in bulk with the Delete button. Either way, your emails will end up in the Deleted Items or Trash folder.
To recover a deleted email:
- Pull up this folder and find the email(s) you’re looking for
- Right click the emails and highlight “Move To,” then send them to the Inbox or another folder of your choice
- You can also use the “Restore” button that appears to automatically send them to your Inbox
Outlook won’t delete your old emails automatically. However, you may permanently delete your messages from the Deleted Items folder, individually or by emptying the folder, to clear space. This is considered permanent deletion.
That said, there’s one last-ditch effort you can make to recover items from permanent deletion: you can look for the Recoverable Items folder, a hidden folder that temporarily stores your permanently deleted items.
To access the Recoverable Items folder:
- Click on Deleted Items.
- From there, you should have an option that says, “Recover Deleted Items From Server.” (Note: If this option isn’t available, your account doesn’t support server item recovery).
- From here, you can find the emails you want to restore and click “Restore Selected Items.” Click OK when you’re ready.
Items recovered this way will return to your Deleted Items folder. From there, you can follow the steps above to restore your items from Deleted Items back to your Inbox, or to your folder of choice.
So, there you have it! How to recover deleted emails from Gmail and Outlook. Did you find this guide helpful? Leave a comment and let me know if I missed anything or if you have any other questions!
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.