Delete Gmail Messages in Bulk with Google Scripts

Published in: Google Apps Script

Gmail Auto Purge, written in Google Scripts, will automatically delete messages belonging to a particular label in Gmail after their retention periods expire.

Some Gmail users receive log files and other non-essential email where only the recent messages are of importance. Auto-purge can help you get rid of these messages without you have to run the clean-up process manually.

// The name of the Gmail Label that is to be autopurged?
var GMAIL_LABEL = "Newsletters";

// Purge messages automatically after how many days?
var PURGE_AFTER = "10";

function purgeGmail() {

  var age = new Date();
  age.setDate(age.getDate() - PURGE_AFTER);

  var purge  = Utilities.formatDate(age, Session.getTimeZone(), "yyyy-MM-dd");
  var search = "label:" + GMAIL_LABEL + " before:" + purge;

  // This will create a simple Gmail search
  // query like label:Newsletters before:10/12/2012

  try {

    // We are processing 100 messages in a batch to prevent script errors.
    // Else it may throw Exceed Maximum Execution Time exception in Apps Script

    var threads =, 0, 100);

    // For large batches, create another time-based trigger that will
    // activate the auto-purge process after 'n' minutes.

    if (threads.length == 100) {
               .at(new Date((new Date()).getTime() + 1000*60*10))

    // An email thread may have multiple messages and the timestamp of
    // individual messages can be different.

    for (var i=0; i<threads.length; i++) {
      var messages = GmailApp.getMessagesForThread(threads[i]);
      for (var j=0; j<messages.length; j++) {
        var email = messages[j];
        if (email.getDate() < age) {

  // If the script fails for some reason or catches an exception,
  // it will simply defer auto-purge until the next day.
  } catch (e) {}

Published in: Google Apps Script

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Web Geek, Tech Columnist
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in GSuite and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

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