Mobility

CleanEmail might be your best hope for a clean Gmail inbox

Jack Wallen gives CleanEmail a shot to clean up his Gmail with impressive results.

I have a confession to make. Although my Google Drive account is immaculately organized, my Gmail account is a mess. In fact, all of my email accounts tend to fall under the weight of a never-ending influx of communications. I'll spend some time attempting to clean them up, only to find that twelve hours later— it's back to square one, and the missives have piled up once again. Oh sure, I could set up filters and tags and junk rules (which I have done time and again), but it seems it rarely (and actually) helps.

And so, when I was asked if I wanted to give CleanEmail a go (under the promise it would clean my Gmail inbox of emails I didn't need), I couldn't resist. But what is CleanEmail? It's a service that you associate with an email account that can filter/clean:

  • Bounced email notifications
  • Emails from addresses you know as safe
  • Junk email and spam
  • Miscellaneous notifications
  • Emails from dead ends
  • Notification from project management tools
  • Old sent or received email
  • Copied emails
  • Top senders
  • Emails to yourself
  • Social network notifications
  • Email you replied to
  • Subscriptions and newsletters
  • Large emails
  • Travel emails
  • Online shopping email
  • Finance emails

You can try CleanEmail for free, but after the trial period, you'll have to shell out for one of the following accounts:

  • One account - $7.99/month
  • Five accounts - $9.99/month
  • Ten accounts - $19.99/month

SEE: Google Drive: Tips and tricks for business professionals (Tech Pro Research)

All features are included in each package, and the service works with iCloud, Fastmail, Aol, Office365, or any IMAP/POP email server.

CleanEmail does have a mobile app for Android and iOS. I'm going to demonstrate from the web client, using my Gmail account (because that's the account which needs the most help).

Installation

There really is no installation necessary (for the web client). You simply point your browser to the web service, log in with your Gmail account (click the Google login button), and let CleanEmail analyze your account. The processing can take some time (depending how many emails you have in your inbox). Once the analysis is complete, you'll see a report of what CleanEmail has found (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

My account has already been cleaned by CleanMail, but since the last cleaning more clutter has amassed.


Cleaning

You have two choices: Quick Clean or Auto Clean. Since this is the first go 'round with CleanEmail, click the Quick Clean button. In the resulting window (Figure B), you can set a few rules for the quick cleaning process.

Figure B

Figure B

Our Quick Clean rules.


Select each option from the various drop-downs. You can optionally click to add each rule to the Auto Clean process. Once you select your option, click the Clean button at the bottom of the window. You will then be prompted to click the Run Quick Clean button. Do that and the cleaning process will begin. If you've opted to add rules to the Auto Clean process, they will be included in the automatic cleaning of your inbox. In other words if you handle the Quick Clean correctly, Clean Email automatically keeps your inbox significantly cleaner without your interaction. Of course, you'll want to come back on a regular basis to keep that inbox as clean as possible.

When the process completes, click the Continue button, and you'll go back to the Quick Clean window. I have noticed, on a couple of occasions, that the Quick Clean feature didn't seem to get everything in the first pass. This is misleading. Why? If your inbox contains a large amount of email (10,000+), the process happens in the background. Because of this, it might seem as if CleanEmail hasn't done anything. Check back after 24 hours, and you should see the process has completed, and your inbox is clean.

Protected list

If you click on the Settings drop-down (from the main window), you'll see an entry for Protected List. Click on that, and you'll find yourself in a window where you can protect emails to and from contacts and select from folders and labels (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Protecting emails, folders, and labels.


Once you add email addresses and select folders and labels, click the Update button at the bottom of the screen. At this point any configured email address/folder/label will not be processed by either the Quick or Auto Clean process.

The verdict

I have to say, CleanEmail managed to finally get my Gmail account under control. The service made bold claims and made good on those claims. If you're looking for the means to get your inbox cleaned up, give this service a try, and see if you don't wind up depending on it. Your inbox will thank you.

Also see

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Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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