The POP e-mail account I use for mobile is linked to an externally-managed anti-spam gateway. It was starting to get too many false positives, so the other day I went through the web UI to mark a whole boatload of old messages as "not spam" to give it a nudge in the right direction.

Of course, they all ended up back in the Inbox and subsequently got downloaded onto my phone. I deleted them, and now they're just sitting there in the trash. All 450 of them.

I really don't want to have to delete every single message from the trash manually. After several minutes of digging on Google I've found genuinely ancient bug reports with no workarounds.

Surely I'm just overlooking an obvious menu item somewhere and Google hasn't actually let such an obvious, gaping feature hole go unplugged for over 2 years, right? So where is it? How do I empty the trash?

P.S. I'm aware of the fact that messages older than 30 days are supposed to be deleted automatically. That's not happening - possibly because they were already more than 30 days old when they were downloaded in the first place.

P.P.S. Please do not tell me to use K9Mail or any other 3rd-party mail program. I'm sure they're great but any e-mail client that doesn't support Exchange ActiveSync is completely useless to me, and so far the only one I've found that seems to do it properly is the stock e-mail app. Sorry if this comes across as grouchy but I am absolutely sick of seeing this "solution" posted thoughtlessly to every single forum/thread I read that happens to mention a problem with e-mail.

  • 1
    Just a thought, but if "some-other-mail-app" will let you get past this particular problem (which seems like a bit of an edge case), isn't it an acceptable solution? You could uninstall once this is fixed and go back to the stock app.
    – Matt H
    Jan 17, 2011 at 18:28
  • @Matt: Exchange/ActiveSync constitutes 90% of the e-mail I do on this phone. If another e-mail app doesn't support it, then it's an immediate deal-breaker. So, no, not an acceptable solution at all. Unless you're suggesting that I could use some 3rd-party app to actually clear the messages in the stock app, but I'm not aware of any app that can do that.
    – Aaronaught
    Jan 17, 2011 at 18:33
  • @aaron What about clearing the stock Mail app's data and starting again? You're probably right, it's unlikely that another (unrooted) app will be able to clear the stock app's mails.
    – Matt H
    Jan 17, 2011 at 18:56
  • I don't use the stock email at all so I have no way of testing this but can you navigate to where the messages are stored in the file directory and delete them there? I know on the PC most clients store them in a DB file but some (like Outlook Express I believe) store each message as an individual file.
    – Matt
    Jan 17, 2011 at 18:56
  • That's an interesting thought, @Matt. I'm pretty sure it is a database, but if each folder gets its own database then I might be able to just delete the entire thing. I'll check.
    – Aaronaught
    Jan 17, 2011 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


This is what works for me (HTC Desire, Android 2.2, default email app, IMAP account):

  • Hit menu button
  • Select "Folders"
  • Select "Trash"
  • Hit menu button
  • Select "Delete"
  • Mark all messages
  • Hit "Delete" button.

My Trash is empty afterward.

  • I've seen a few references to this; I wonder if it was added in 2.2. I don't actually have a Delete option in step 5, unfortunately.
    – Aaronaught
    Jan 18, 2011 at 15:27
  • No "Delete" option here on a Motorola Droid (Android 2.2.1).
    – ale
    Jan 18, 2011 at 15:34
  • Interesting. Maybe there just isn't the "default email app", then. I guess that's one of the problems of Android...
    – jhwist
    Jan 18, 2011 at 16:10
  • Well, Droid's as "stock" as you can get short of a Nexus One.
    – ale
    Jan 18, 2011 at 18:20

This workaround method works for the default Email app v2.3.4 (possibly earlier versions) on a T-mobile G2. Open the trash folder, open a message from the trash folder, continuously click on the delete button for rapid deletion. [Message deleted.] will remain on the screen for a decent amount of time if a large number of messages were deleted.


I have found the way to do this.

Step 1 - open mail app and go into trash folder. While there is no way you can select each deleted email , you need to change the view setting to default rather than conversation.

Step 2 - this will allow you to view the mail in the trash folder by days, weeks and months. Select each date period and then delete them.

I did 2500 emails in seconds - well quicker than it took to write this..

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    Huh? Conversation view? Are you talking about gmail? Because I've never seen this in the default email app - not on the older Droid/Milestone, and not on my brand-new tablet (ICS) either. Maybe some more specific directions or a screenshot/photo would help.
    – Aaronaught
    Jun 12, 2012 at 1:33
  • Its in the standard email app not gmail. you need to select view mode when you are in the trash folder.
    – Bruce
    Jun 12, 2012 at 5:03
  • It is in android 4
    – Bruce
    Jun 12, 2012 at 5:16
  • ICS = Android 4; have it, don't see what you're saying. Picture/screenshot?
    – Aaronaught
    Jun 13, 2012 at 23:22
  • 1
    Apparently that's either a Samsung customization or is different on tablets; there's nothing even remotely like this on my TF300 (the only menu item is "settings").
    – Aaronaught
    Jun 13, 2012 at 23:43

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