How To Make All Emails “Read” On Gmail

The number of unread emails on your inbox can pile to hundreds, if not thousands if you leave it unattended for a long time. If that is also the case for you, it might be difficult for you to notice new emails due to the sheer number of unread messages. Fortunately, marking the entirety of your inbox as read is possible in Gmail.


Gmail is arguably the most popular email provider around the world. With a billion active users every month, I’m sure that there are a ton of people who need help with their email management.

Although marking all of your messages can do the job, it isn’t simple as it seems. You wouldn’t want to go through a ton of pages and click “Mark all as read” every time. 

I’m sure that at some point, we can all agree that having a cluttered inbox with a lot of unread messages can be quite an inconvenience, and it sometimes gets in the way of knowing if you have new and important emails.

Thankfully, Gmail still has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that allow knowledgeable users to manage their inbox effortlessly. All you need to do is a little bit of exploring and getting familiar with advanced features and search commands to get going.

So in this guide, we’ll teach you step-by-step on how to make use of Gmail’s advanced search bar and some of its internal commands to clear your inbox of unread messages.

How to Mark All Messages as “Read”

Note: Clearing the entirety of your inbox isn’t possible with the Gmail app.

  1. On your Gmail account, type “label:inbox is:unread” on the search bar and press Enter. This step gives you access to all of the unread messages from your Primary, Social, and Promotional inbox.

  2. Click Select, which you can see beside the refresh button and below the search bar.

  3. Choose All to select all of the messages displayed on the current page.

  4. Click “Select all conversations that match this search” to select all messages from all of your pages. 

  5. Click “More options,” which looks like three vertical dots, and choose “Mark as read.”

  6. Click “OK” to confirm your decision.

Have a bit of patience since this can take quite a while, especially if the number of unread emails is in the thousands.

You can also use the label operator to sweep unread messages from different folders. As an example, entering “label:important is:unread” on your search bar results in emails from the Important folder.

How to Clear Unread Messages From Your Primary, Social, and Promotions Inbox

If you’re using Gmail frequently, there is a high chance to notice that the inbox has three sections. So instead of going for a clean sweep of your entire inbox, you can opt to manage each of these sections individually.  

Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open your Gmail account.
  2. Select Primary, Social, or Promotions.

  3. Click Select > All.
  4. Click “Select all conversations that match this search.”
  5. Click “More options” > “Mark all as read” and click “OK” to confirm your decision.

Marking as “Read” Vs. Deleting Messages

Sure, deleting all of your emails also works, but it might include important ones in the process. Whether its messages that contain different credentials, crucial information, or important documents, you wouldn’t want to delete any of those without any backup.

So when it comes to managing large amounts of messages, it is much safer to mark them all as “read” instead of deleting them.

Manage Your Gmail Account Efficiently

While it is optional to clean the inbox from notifications frequently, it is good practice to do so. The inbox looks much better with less unread emails, and it also makes it easier to recognize if you have new emails or messages.

Here is where the advance search operators come in. They can help you view and sort huge numbers of messages that the tools in the Gmail interface can’t access.

Look, the scope in where you can use internal commands isn’t limited to just marking all of your messages as unread. Google’s search operators come handy in various situations, and they can also help you manage your Gmail even more efficiently. You can use them to move different emails, look for specific ones, and any more.

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