In Search Of Missing Gmail

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is to have e-mail just vanish. I’ve heard from a few of you that this has happened to your Gmail account. Let’s take a look at some common causes of missing messages and how you can retrieve them.

Many times it’s due to accidentally deletion or archiving or perhaps mistakenly marking a message as spam. An incorrect filter can also send your messages directly to the trash.

Let’s take a look a some possible ways to recover these missing messages or at least stop it from happening again.

First, let’s check to make sure these messages weren’t accidentally deleted for put int he trash. We’ll start by searching for them. The “search” box is at the top of your Gmail inbox.


Search won’t check your Spam or Trash unless you tell it to, so click the drop down button in the search box for Advanced Search and click the arrow next to All Mail.


Make sure you select Mail & Spam & Trash.


Then use the advanced search fields to enter information you know is in some of the missing messages.


Check the results for your missing e-mail.


If it’s there, you’ll know it actually all gone for good. If it’s in the trash or spam you can move it back to your inbox.

If messages went into your Spam folder, make sure you mark them as not Spam.  You’ll also want to check your settings to make sure you aren’t accidentally deleting the messages. We’ll look at how to do that in part 2 of this series.

~ Cynthia

6 thoughts on “In Search Of Missing Gmail

  1. I’ve had this happen to me, and have found if I go back to my email inbox I’ll find it in the list. I simply reopen it, delete it, or do whatever I’d normally do with it.
    I sometimes will mis-file an email when scrolling through myfolders list by either pressing too hard or letting up too soon while scrolling through them…then I have to go to each folder around where I was on the list if I remember.

  2. I’ve tried everything and cannot retrieve my lost email. The problem is that I need some of the email for a court case. If this has truly been deleted forever, I don’t know what I’ll do.

    Why weren’t we notified somehow that this was going to happen???

    I’m going to set up another email address, but you can bet it won’t be GOOGLE.

    1. Diane:

      If the issue is hackers breaking into accounts and deleting mail – as it often is in these cases- there would be no way to let you know ahead of time what criminals were planning. And to be fair, Google has encouraged users to enable two-factor authentication for quite some time This cuts down on crooks’ being able to get in. I’m curious, had you enabled 2-factor authentication?

  3. My Gmail inbox is erased, with years of email history on 3/29/2016 (the night before I saw my emails). Stunning. I researched thru the day.
    A potential bug issue with Apple iOS 9 is known (and reported on a Gmail help forum since September 2015) per google forum notes. There are hundreds of entries on this Gmail forum site with massive loss of mail. Around the world this total Gmail wipeout issue is noted even before this date. Other mass erasures occur with other mobile clients, I’m not certain of the cause(s), how do I trust Gmail now?
    Yet I believed I could trash my emails, (I can just put stuff in the trash from the phone, which is still recoverable for 30 days). But an inbox erasure, a permanent delete, why is that available without some safe guards?
    Neither Google nor Apple steps up to own or resolve this issue,… a CLASSIC 2 VENDOR non resolution?…and the user/customer hangs in the balance. The Google remedy is “dump the apple client for Gmail and use googles!
    Despite Gmail knowing about this surprise wipe out issue for over 1/2 a year; there is no general alert to Gmail users. Here is no warning ME some action is pending in my account that will wipe out my inbox! No second question ARE YOU SURE ? So no protection was created or effective warning given, Why?
    Apparently Google Gmail has no recovery available for their Gmail user / customer. Backup is available to Gmail, but not the user. Not even an audit trail to isolate the offending erasure for diagnosis or to know how to prevent it. How do I know if it was: a stealth hack , a google system error, my fumbling finger touches or an ios 9 bug?
    I received 2 emails from Gmail saying my inbox data is non recoverable (this after I reported the erasure assault and I sent a second report with this ‘ iOS 9 issue’ in the report, as advised on the Gmail forum with the request for help. Likely the 2 replies were automated replies.
    A non backed up, unrecoverable inbox is a high wire act …no net.
    I followed all the recovery help instructions in my hunt for the deleted emails : all mail, trash, other tabs, ITS GONE! Erased and not by me.
    Remember ‘don’t be evil’ or even ‘do the right thing’ .
    Is there a user advisory, an ombudsman, someone human to hear …that you’re crushing a Gmail user . Please restore the inbox.

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