If your mobile email app of choice is Google’s official Gmail app, then you might have found the management of deleted emails to not be of your liking. You are in either one of two camps:

  • When you delete an email, you want it permanently deleted.
  • When you delete an email, you want it archived–just in case.

There are pros and cons with each. If you delete an email, it won’t sit around taking up space. On the flip side, if you do delete an email, it’s gone for good. If, on the other hand, you archive an email, it’s going to take up precious space on your Google account. However, if there comes a point when you need to access the information in that email, you can head over the archive and retrieve that necessary data.

If you comb through your archive, you’ll probably be surprised at how much is there. If that’s an issue for you, you’ll be glad to know it’s possible to change the default behavior on the Android app, such that Gmail no longer archives when you delete an email, but actually deletes it.

Or, if you’re shocked to find out your archive is empty, you’ll be relieved to know you can set that behavior such that deleting an email actually archives said email.

Let me show you how. I’ll be demonstrating on an Essential PH-1 , using the most recent update of Google’s Gmail app (on Android 7.1.1).

Configuring email deletion

The one caveat to this configuration is that you cannot configure it on a per-account basis. The deletion action is configured “app-wide,” so when you set the option, it will apply to all accounts. Open up the Gmail app. Tap the menu button in the upper left corner (three horizontal lines), and then tap Settings. Within the Settings window, tap General settings. In the resulting window (Figure A), tap Gmail default action.

Figure A

In the resulting popup (Figure B), select either Archive or Delete, whichever suits your needs.

Figure B

Once you’ve made your selection, back out of the settings window and into the Gmail app. You are good to go. Just remember, this configuration will apply to all of the accounts you have within the Gmail app.

Your choice

Don’t let that account fill up. Or don’t lose important data simply because you have an itchy delete finger. Whether you need to permanently remove read emails or archive them, Gmail has you covered with a simple setting.