How to Find Lost Emails in Gmail

Every once in a while, you just can’t seem to find the email you’re looking for. While Gmail has acknowledged this is a real issue for some users, they’ve never introduced a fix to prevent it from happening. For most users, the emails are lost because they’re deleted or filtered into a Spam or Trash folder. We’ll show you how to find lost emails in Gmail.

Only Three Ways to Delete Emails

There are only three known ways to actually delete emails in Gmail:

  • Marking an email as spam, then emptying that folder
  • Delete the email, then delete it directly from the Trash folder
  • Delete the email, then let Gmail automatically delete it in 30 days

Unless you did one of the above, the email you’re looking for is somewhere within Gmail. It’s just a matter of locating it.

How to Find Lost Emails in Gmail

In order to effectively find lost emails in Gmail, you need to know some keywords contained in the email along with an approximate date it was sent or received. This makes narrowing down where the email is easier.

1. Perform a search with the keywords related to the email.


If you use more than one word, make sure you use quotations to isolate it as a phrase as opposed to multiple words. This can make it much easier to narrow down the search results as you look for your lost email.

2. When you view the results of that search, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, scroll all the way to the bottom and look for Deleted messages.


3. Click on “View them.”

This will show all the results in your Trash that relate to your keyword search.

4. If you found the email you’re looking for, make sure to move it to your inbox to keep it from being deleted in the Trash.


5. If you still haven’t found the email you’re looking for, look for the Spam folder in the left-hand side of Gmail and click it.


6. Now, search within the Spam folder with the same keyword or keywords you used before.


Gmail will automatically add what’s necessary to do this.

7. Go through the Spam results that match your keyword, and if you find the email, mark it as safe so it’ll move to your inbox. This will also help keep similar emails from going to your Spam folder in Gmail.


8. If you still can’t find the email you’ve lost, you can try going through any other default folders you have set up with the steps above. If you’re having no luck, chances are the email is gone for good and was deleted by you or Gmail at some point.

The only way to recover that email at this point is to contact the sender and request them to send it to you again.


Don’t panic if you can’t find the email you’re looking for in Gmail. As you can see, chances are it’s still there, it’s just misplaced. If you follow the steps above, you’ll find the email you’re looking for in no time or at least know for sure it’s gone for good.

Melissa Popp
Melissa Popp

Melissa Popp has been a freelance writer for over a decade. While she primarily has focused on writing about technology, she's also written about everything from custom mailboxes to health care to just about anything in between. Melissa is the Content Strategist for, the nation's leading marketplace for trailers for sale, the Social Media Manager for the best roofing Denver company as well as a Writer here at MakeTechEasier. She's a proud support of the Denver SEO community and a big fan of online radio.

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