Gmail Tip: Mark All Unread Mail as Read

I’m finally moving my main email account to Google Apps.  This way, spam should be less of an issue, and I’ll be able to access all of my mail online.  Google has a nice importer application, so I can easily upload over 25 thousand old email messages (I’m not even importing everything).  The one problem I’ve found is that for some reason some of my email shows up as unread.  If you get in the same situation, or just want to “catch up”, here’s an easy way to mark everything as read.

  1. Go to your Settings/Filters page and create a new filter.
  2. In the Has the words field enter “is:unread” (without quotes), and click the Next Step button.
  3. You’ll get a message warning you that this type of filter won’t be applied to new mail, but that’s OK.  Click OK to continue.
  4. Check the boxes next to Mark as read and Also apply filter to … conversations below.
  5. Click Create Filter button, and you’re done.  You might want to should delete the filter once you finish since it won’t be needing it anymore.

Update: Thanks everyone in the comments and at Lifehacker for pointing out the easier way to do this.  You learn something new every day.

35 Responses to “Gmail Tip: Mark All Unread Mail as Read”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Worked like a charm. Thanks for posting this!

  2. TheRafMan Says:

    Awesome! Thank you!

    I was about to ditch Gmail because it was hard to find the needle in the haystack.
    One would think that Google would have it built in already or made it easier to get this info.

    Thank you again.

  3. beth Says:


  4. Joel Says:

    I have an easier way…
    in Gmail just above the top email. select all. then in the center of the page on top of the first email click the button that says select all 2304 (or however many emails you have) then mark as read.

  5. Plecebo Says:

    Alternatively if you choose “All” from the select options just above your first email in your box you will get an indicator added just above your email that reads:

    All 50 conversations on this page are selected. Select all 99 conversations in Inbox.

    You can click the “Select all 99 conversations in Inbox.”

    to select every item in your Inbox and then choose “Mark as read” from the More actions drop down.

  6. Jim Says:

    I find it easier to search for “is:unread” from the main screen. If you select All (rather just unread) then Gmail will add a link to select All items that match this search criteria.

    There is no need to have a temporary filter for this purpose as you can do it all from the mail screen.

  7. Mattia Says:

    Hey, I think you are wrong. In google inbox when you click “unread” to select unread mail, if there are mail unread in other pages a yellow bar appears asking if you want to select all the unread mail, even the hided one. I hope you understand my bad english =)

  8. Theresa Says:

    Thanks so much for this! I had a hidden unread message that just wouldn’t clear or change to ‘read’ DESPITE selecting ALL UNREAD in my whole inbox (not just the front page but ALL 4000 of them!) – Interestingly when creating this filter, it listed the rogue message which, according to the date, should have been on the front page! It seemed to have been hiding somewhere! Very strange.

    So in conclusion, this tip is great when gmail has a blip! Thanks again!

  9. Rory Says:

    Thanks mate.

  10. Ori Says:

    This worked like a charm, i just started with google mail and the one thing i was freaked about was the 6k+ emails that were unread.. 30 seconds after reading this i have 0 unread.. u rock.. thanks

  11. Abhijit Says:

    thanx a lott man.. it helped A LOT!

  12. Mark All Unread Mail as Read- Gmail Tip « Today’s Marketing Says:

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  13. Gabriella Watcher Says:

    Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will add backlink – bookmark this site? Regards, Reader.

  14. Bente Kalsnes Says:

    Thanks for the blog post, saved my day! I did actually use Joel’s suggestion, super easy!

  15. Free Prestashop Theme Says:

    thanks for this tips. Google have to improve their mail

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    […] Takk til […]

  17. Renjith Says:

    Thanks Bro…

  18. Jonathan Enns Says:

    Thanks! This helped!

  19. varma Says:


  20. Ginu Punoose Says:

    dude its working thanx

  21. Srinivas Prabhu G Says:

    thanks for article..

  22. Faizan Says:

    was very simple to do but after i knew how to!

  23. giang le Says:

    thanks, It worked

  24. manikanta.. Says:

    woooooooooow… really awesome….

  25. Garg Says:

    Thanks a lot..very usefula post

  26. yknox7772 Says:

    AMEN!! Thank you!! Quick and Pain Free!!

  27. porchmonkey Says:


  28. Suresh Says:

    Thank u s working fine.. good job

  29. Harsh Says:


    Worked Smoothly

  30. Guest Says:

    ZOMG!!! I have had thousands of unread emails in my gmail account for years! I always figured it was never going to be fixed so I just let it get worse and worse. Man (or wo-man) thanks so much for this, it’s like a whole new gmail!

  31. cutesangma Says:

    thankQ sooo muz!!… had thousands of unread mails!!..
    had swept them  in secs!
    thanks again :)

  32. Rashi Kalra Lalwani Says:

    Sweet!!! That is awesome!!! Thanks a ton….

  33. Arun Says:

    If you want an automated solution to mark emails older than N days everyday, there’s a google script to do that –

  34. psw Says:

    ha, tres cool! this has stumped for sometime too.

  35. Change read status of all gmail messages at once | Ben Kaplan Says:

    […] Here’s the original source: […]

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