Gmail is among the best email apps on Android, and for a good reason. It features solid automation, filters, and tools you can take advantage of. Email inboxes tend to fill up with junk, and while you can to filter, sort, and clear out inbox items, the process requires a manual touch. Sometimes, the manual touch is to delete everything in sight or at least archive it so it’s out of the way.

While the Gmail mobile apps don’t allow you to select all emails on iPhone and top budget Android phones, you can use the web version to complete the job.


How to select all in Gmail in a desktop browser

To clear out your email or do bulk management, you need to use Gmail’s Select All feature, which you can do in a desktop browser as follows:

  1. Open Gmail and log in using your Google credentials if necessary.
  2. When you’re in the Gmail inbox, ensure you’re in the correct view and displaying the content you want to see. You can select the mailbox or folder you want to work in from the sidebar, and you can collapse sections within each folder or inbox to exclude them from the selection.
    a gmail inbox with expandable lists and the inbox categories highlighted

  3. Once you are in the correct location and have the correct emails displayed, use the checkbox above the list of emails to select all.
    a gmail inbox with the selection drop-down open and highlighted

You’ll see several options when you select all emails. Choose a relevant option.

  • All: Selects all the emails displayed on the screen.
  • None: Deselects any selected emails in the folder.
  • Read: Selects your read emails only.
  • Unread: Selects your unread emails only.
  • Starred: Filters your starred emails in Gmail.
  • Unstarred: Shows all the emails that you haven’t assigned a star.

By default, Gmail selects all messages on the current page. You can select all messages in the folder from the top menu.

select all messages in inbox

If you want to display more messages in Gmail, use the steps below.

  1. Launch Gmail on the desktop. Click the Settings gear in the upper-right corner and open See all settings.
    gmail settings on web

  2. Expand the Maximum page size menu and select 100. You can’t select more than 100 emails to display in the current folder.
    show maximum emails in a page

  3. Scroll down and select Save Changes.
    save gmail changes

What can you do with selected emails in Gmail?

You can use several options while selecting all your emails in Gmail.

gmail actions

  • Archive: Archives the selected emails.
  • Report Spam: Reports the selected emails as spam in Gmail. It moves all the selected emails to the spam box.
  • Delete: Deletes the selected emails with a single click. It’s one of the reasons why people select all emails in Gmail.
  • Mark as Unread: Marks the emails as unread.
  • Snooze: Snoozes all emails. You can pick a specific time and date.
  • Add to Tasks: Adds selected emails to Google Tasks.
  • Move To: Moves the selected emails to a different folder.
  • Labels: Applies relevant labels to the selected emails.

The options don’t end here. You can select the three-dot menu beside labels and check more actions to perform on the selected emails.

select all actions

  • Mark as read: Marks all emails as read.
  • Mark as unread: Marks all emails as unread in Gmail.
  • Mark as important: Marks all emails as important in Gmail.
  • Mark as not important: Marks all emails as not important.
  • Add star: Adds star to selected emails.
  • Filter messages like these: Filters similar messages like the selected emails.
  • Mute: Mutes selected email threads in Gmail.
  • Forward as attachments: Forwards selected emails as an EML file.

Can you select all in Gmail for Android?

In short, no. Google limits the Android app to manual selections. There is a workaround, but it should only be used if you don’t have another option because it’s not user-friendly. If you need to clear out your mailbox or do bulk email management, and you can only do it on your phone, do it from your phone’s web browser.

First, open your phone’s web browser, navigate to Gmail, and log in using your Google account credentials. Once you’re logged in, confirm that you want to go to the browser version instead of downloading the app. This opens the mobile version of the browser-based Gmail inbox. Next, follow these steps:

  1. When you have the Gmail inbox open, use your phone’s browser options — this differs from browser to browser, but it should be where you open Settings and other options — to switch from the mobile version of the web page to the desktop version and reload the page.
  2. After the desktop version loads, you’ll notice that little has changed except for the UI scaling. To go to the actual desktop version, tap the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the screen to open the inbox options.
  3. In the inbox options, scroll to the bottom and tap Desktop next to View Gmail in to open the desktop version of Gmail on your phone.

  4. You might be greeted with a screen with the options Take me to the latest Gmail and I’d like to use HTML Gmail. Select Take me to the latest Gmail to open the modern Gmail UI.
  5. When the desktop version of Gmail opens on your phone, use the process described above for the desktop browser version. It’ll just be on a smaller screen.

The Gmail app for iOS does not allow you to select all, but the Apple Safari browser allows you to load the desktop version, so the same process applies to iPhones.

Avoid small screens for productivity work

It’s a shame that Google refuses to make the Gmail app more functional. It’s not as if phone screens are too small to get work done. If you’re trying to get work done when you’re out and about but don’t want to carry a bulky laptop, an Android tablet might be a good bet, especially since many of the best ones have desktop environments built into the user experience.

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