Gmail Account Over Quota and Bounced Emails: How do I overcome this Issue?
“You’re out of storage and will soon be unable to send or receive emails until you free up space or purchase additional storage.”
This warning message can be your worst nightmare especially if you’re using Gmail for business purposes. The warning indicates that your Gmail account has reached its maximum storage quota (whether free or paid) and is unable to receive/ send new emails anymore. This means that many important emails sent by customers, investors, employees, lawyers or Government officials may bounce back even before they reach your desk.
If you’re going through a similar situation, relax and take a deep breath as we’re here to help you fix this issue.
After reading this article, you should be able to free-up a significant portion of your Gmail storage by following our step-by-step guide. We’ll discuss various methods to get rid of thousands of insignificant junk emails accumulated in your email account. Let’s begin.
First things first: Backup your Gmail messages
Before we head on to the actual procedure, we recommend that you create a backup. Although it may seem insignificant to spend additional time doing this, a backup can act as a saviour in times of crisis. It is a good practice to make regular backups before making changes to your account to avoid data loss.
Click on your Profile picture icon on the top right.
Select Manage your Google account.
Head on to the Data and Personalization tab on the left-side navigation panel.
Scroll down a bit and look for Download, delete or make a plan for your data.
Click on Download your data.
This takes you to another page called Google Takeout.
Use the ‘Deselect all’ option to exclude pre-selected items.
Scroll down the page until you find the Mail icon. Don’t forget to check mark it.
Click on Next step.
In the Delivery method, choose any delivery option other than “Send download link via email”. If things go wrong, you may accidentally lose your backup link email. Therefore, we recommend selecting any delivery method among Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Box.
To get periodic Gmail backups, choose the Export every 2 months for 1 year option.
If you want, you can set optional file type and size splitting options as well.
Click on Create Export and wait for some time till the backup is generated on to your selected cloud platform.
Finally, login to your cloud platform and verify that the backup has been generated.
Delete old emails in bulk using different filters
We all use the Search feature in Gmail to find specific emails by their recipient name or content keywords. But one of the interesting, yet less known facts about Gmail is its ability to search for old emails using different parameters or filters. After learning some handy techniques below, you should be in a position to quickly identify and delete older email conversations in bulk that aren’t needed anymore. The best part is that you don’t need to be a tech-savvy to do that.
Delete all promotional emails older than 6 months or a year
If you are in the habit of randomly subscribing to websites and newsletters with personal/ work email, chances are that you’ve already accumulated thousands of promotional emails over years.
Google does an incredible job tabbing your inbox. Your emails are classified into three main categories- Primary, Social and Promotions. Normally, you should find all marketing and sales emails attributed as “Promotions” as they are automatically moved to the Promotions tab without your intervention. If you don’t need all this promotional emails clutter, it’s wise to delete them altogether.
Type in the following query into the Search box of your Gmail:
category:promotions , older_than:6m
The search results will throw a list of all 50 promotional emails older than 6 months with an option to browse more of such emails using navigational buttons.
Now, click the Check All icon on the left.
Gmail will auto-select the first 50 emails but hold on, don’t delete any emails at this moment. Gmail will give you an additional option to select all conversations matching your search. Just click on: “Select all conversations that match this search”.
Click on the Trash icon.
Go to the Bin, and select Empty Bin now.
That’s it! With just a few clicks, you’ve re-claimed a significant part of your storage that was occupied by unwanted, promotional emails older than 6 months.
Similarly, you can run the following custom queries to search for promotional emails older than a time span of your choice.
Promotional emails older than 60 days:
category:promotions , older_than:60d
Promotional emails older than 1 year:
category:promotions , older_than:1y
Promotional emails older than 3 years:
category:promotions , older_than:3y
Delete all social emails older than 6 months or a year
You don’t have to be a social media addict to get dozens of social emails every week. If you have ever signed up on a social network such as instagram, Facebook or Twitter, they might continually recommend you people and content to follow. Just like promotional emails, these emails too can waste a significant portion of your Gmail storage. If you haven’t guessed already, you can customize the above-mentioned query at your advantage to get rid of such emails as well.
Find social emails older than 6 months:
category:social , older_than:6m
Find social emails older than 1 year:
category:social , older_than:1y
Use one of the above queries and modify it the way you like. Filter and delete all emails in one-go using the Check-All icon, followed by “Select all conversations that match this search” option as we discussed earlier.
Delete all “unread” emails older than a year in all or specific tabs
An unread email may signify three things: The email hasn’t been seen/ read yet. The user doesn’t find the email significant enough to be opened and read or the user has intentionally marked the email as ‘unread’ to take action at a later point in time (similar to To-Do Lists we made in Microsoft Outlook).
However, we do believe that it is safe to filter unread primary emails older than a year or two and delete them. You can do so by using the following query:
Filter all unread emails older than 1 year in all tabs:
is:unread , older_than:1y
And of course, you can slightly tweak the above query and apply it to individual tabs such as Primary.
Filter all unread emails older than 1 year in the Primary tab only:
is:unread category:primary , older_than:1y
Delete all sent & incoming emails with attachments > 2 MB
Email attachments are the single most contributing reason behind inadequate email storage. If you’re occasionally sharing compressed files, Word documents or Excel spreadsheets with your co-workers, these email attachments can take up huge storage.
Filter all emails with attachments > 2 MB in size:
Filter all emails with attachments < 500 KB in size (Approx 0.5 MB):
Filter all emails older than 6 months with attachments> 2 MB in size:
Filter all emails with attachments > 10 Bytes:
Filter all sent emails with attachments > 2 MB in size:
Filter all incoming emails with attachments > 2 MB in size:
Delete all emails older than 2 years except for emails from particular senders
This method will help you delete every single email older than 2 years in your account. At the same time, it’ll also allow you to retain emails sent by specific people of your choice.
Things to remember..
- It is a common practice that people send emails from multiple accounts (such as Gmail and their own domain). You will need to mention multiple email addresses of the same individual in order to retain their conversations. If you don’t, you might lose important conversations exchanged from other accounts, causing unwanted data loss. (Refer to example 1 below)
- Another way to prevent possibility of data loss is to enter a keyword (typically, individual’s name) that is common in all of their email addresses. (Refer to example 2 below)
- We recommend that you generate a backup of your Gmail account before moving ahead to the actual procedure. For detailed steps, refer to the initial part of this article.
Delete all emails older than 2 years and specify email addresses to retain their emails:
Delete all emails older than 2 years and specify names (John, Peter and Max) to retain their emails:
Wipe out your entire Gmail account (NOT recommended without a proper backup, only for advanced users)
Using one or more techniques above, you must have already freed up a significant portion of your Gmail storage. In case, it still isn’t upto your expectations or you desire to wipe-out the entire Gmail storage, go ahead and do it.
Since this method involves deleting everything off (including emails from your close contacts), we DON’T recommend this for normal users. Do this only at your own risk. You may lose important email conversations, older records from your close contacts that may hold significance in your daily life or business activities. This is akin to signing up for an entirely new Gmail account afresh, except that you retain your existing email address.
Before you move ahead any further, we recommend that you backup an archive of your Gmail messages. Do this even if it costs you additional time. Wiping out your entire Gmail account is a sure-shot way of losing your data. Make sure that you have already backed-up your Gmail account in case you need to look back.
Wiping-out your Gmail account:
Type in a fictional email address in the Search Box in the following format. This email address shouldn’t have sent you any email before.
Click on the Check icon on the upper left.
Click on Select all conversations that match this search.
Click on the Trash icon.
Go to your Bin and click on Empty Bin now.
Vikas Medhekar is a tech enthusiast. He has accomplished MBA in Financial Markets and MCom in Management. He loves writing blogs on technology & computers to help users make their digital life easier.