PSA: do you think google deleted your email?

Just ran into an interesting factoid about gmail. Knowing that at least at some point in time email left on the server after so many days was considered “abandoned”, my method was to use gmail to receive my mail, then use a desktop client such as office Outlook or Thunderbird. I set up offline folders, then moved important stuff offline, keeping my apparent inbox very small.

Recently, I was poking around in the web client for Gmail and noticed the ‘All’ view of email. What I found there was my recent email items ‘tagged’ with a relevant tag like “inbox” followed by 5000 old emails going back a decade with no tags on them. So much for my strategy.

I rutted around in the gmail settings until I found one that said that after a mail item had no more tags it was to be moved to the trash. Of course by the tyranny of the default it was not selected. It took a while to clean out the old stuff but it appears the setting is working as desired.

Thought you might want to know.


Not deleting emails is the correct default. can you imagine the problems that would be caused if people’s email is deleted without their knowledge?


From where I am sitting, if I put an email in the trash and empty the trash I expect it to be deleted. Am I from another universe? all google does by default is remove all the labels and leave it around to be vulnerable. the old “set visibility to zero” trick. Outlook doesn’t see it, thinks it has in fact been deleted when it has in fact NOT been.

That’s not my experience. When I trash emails in gmail they are moved too the trash and after 30 days (I think) they are permanently deleted.

There is some confusion on how gmail’s tag system works with IMAP folders. IMAP deletions are different that moving an item to the trash (at least depending on how your IMAP client is configured). But the bottom line is if you place an email in the trash it is deleted.

The setting is pretty explanatory:
When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last visible IMAP folder:
Archive the message (default)
Move the message to the Trash
Immediately delete the message forever

so I guess I was receiving the default ‘archive’ option until I changed it. PSA so if you don’t want that… it is under the settings tab ‘forwarding and pop/imap’ which I am sure we all have looked at!

Just thought you should know:

verb (used with object), rut·ted, rut·ting.

to make a rut or ruts in; furrow.

as in dig through, where is your mind?

“an insignificant or trivial [fact]”

we shouldn’t really have to point out which of multiple definitions our terms are meant to evoke on a friendly forum, right?