The Trash and the Spam folders in your Gmail have a unique auto-purge property and old email messages belonging to either of these labels are automatically deleted after a fixed period of time (30 days to be precise).

Gmail Auto Purge

Get rid of unwanted and older email messages with auto-purge in Gmail.


Auto-purging can help keep your mailbox lean and tidy.

For instance, if you have created a rule in Gmail that archives all your newsletter subscriptions to a particular label, these unwanted messages will live forever until you manually purge them. With auto-purging enabled, the older mails of a label are automatically removed from your mailbox.

How to Enable Auto-Purging in Gmail

You can’t enable auto-purging in Gmail for any particular label but there’s a simple Google Script that will bring this missing functionality to your Gmail. The script will basically monitor messages belonging to a particular folder /label in Gmail and purge those that have exceed the retention time.

Here’s how you can get auto-purge to work inside your Gmail:

  1. Open Google Script and choose File -> Make a copy to copy it into your Google Drive.
  2. Set the value of GMAIL_LABEL to the label that you wish to auto-purge and PURGE_AFTER are the number of days for which you to retain a message in Gmail.
  3. Go to Run -> Initialize and grant the necessary permissions. This is your personal script and nobody else will ever have access to your data.
  4. Go to Run -> Install to install the auto-purge script.

That’s it. Exit the Google Script and it will continuously monitor that particular Gmail label in the background. If you need to disable auto-purging later, just open the same script in your Google Drive and choose Run -> Uninstall.


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