How to recover deleted emails in Gmail and move them back to your inbox on a computer or mobile device

insider@insider.com (Melanie Weir)
·4 min read
woman in coffee shop looking at cell phone
If you've accidentally deleted an email, you have 30 days to move it back into your Gmail inbox.
  • You can easily recover a deleted email in Gmail on the desktop website or mobile app, as long as it wasn't deleted more than 30 days ago.

  • You can recover emails using the Gmail app, or the desktop site, and you can move them to any mailbox you choose, not just your inbox.

  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

We've all done it — you were going through your inbox, deleting emails en masse, and you accidentally deleted one that you need. Don't panic — you can still find the email in your trash folder, but not only that, you can also put it back into your inbox from your trash folder.

Whether you're using the Gmail site on a web browser or the Gmail mobile app, you can recover emails that you deleted within the past 30 days, as long as you hadn't manually deleted the email from your trash bin. So if you realize in a state of panic that you accidentally trashed an important message two weeks ago because you thought you didn't need it, don't worry, it's still in your trash bin, you just might have to scroll a little bit to find it.

How to recover deleted emails on the Gmail website

1. In the sidebar panel on the left, underneath where your mailboxes are listed, click "More."

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Click "More" in the sidebar panel on the left side of your inbox.

2. Scroll down until you find the folder labeled "Trash" and click on it.

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Scroll down and click the folder labeled "Trash."

3. Find and click on the email you want to recover.

4. At the top of the email, between the search bar and the subject line, you'll see a row of icons. 

The "Move" button, the third icon from the left, looks like a folder with an arrow on it. Click on it to open a menu of options for where you can move the email.

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Click the "Move" icon, third from the left above the subject of the email.

5. From there, either click "Inbox" to restore the deleted email to your inbox, select one of the other destinations, or, if you don't see the one you want, search for it in the search box.

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Move the email to your inbox, or another destination of your choosing.

How to recover deleted emails on the Gmail mobile app

1. In the top left corner of the app, next to the search bar, click the "Menu" icon, which looks like three horizontal lines.

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Click the three-line icon in the top left corner to bring up the menu.

2. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Trash to go to your deleted emails folder.

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Scroll down and tap "Trash."

3. Find the email you want to recover and open it. 

4. In the top right corner of the app, next to an icon of an envelope, tap the three-dot icon to open an action menu.

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Open the email and tap the three-dot icon in the top right corner.

5. On the menu that pops up, tap "Move to."

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Select "Move to."

6. Select the inbox you'd like to return the email to — your main inbox may be labeled "Primary" or simply "Inbox."

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Tap the inbox you'd like to move the email back to.

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