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Can I retrieve this gmail email that I've deleted on my iphone?
October 24, 2010 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Help me recover an email I deleted from my gmail account.

I don't use my gmail account very often and almost never from my iphone. I just accidentally deleted a critical email from my gmail inbox using my iphone. I couldn't see the trash folder so I logged into my account using my laptop and still didn't see the trash folder. I went to account settings and now the trash folder is showing but it's empty. I've tried to refresh it but nothing shows up. Did I delete this email permanently when I deleted it from my iphone? Is there just a time lag and it will show up soon. Help!
posted by victoriab to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
Are you sure you didn't archive it? One way to check if it is anywhere is searching for the email. As far as I know, the iPhone software archives things for you, and deleting is pretty non-obvious in the Gmail app.

There shouldn't be any time delay as far as I know. Everything you delete should go immediately to trash and will be permanently deleted after 30 days.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:24 PM on October 24, 2010


Yeah, the iPhone mail app doesn't delete items, but instead archives it.
posted by rhapsodie at 2:28 PM on October 24, 2010


Yeah depending on how you have the iphone configured, the message may be in All Mail [i.e. archived as azarbayejani says] Try doing a gmail-wide search for text from it and see if you see it.
posted by jessamyn at 2:29 PM on October 24, 2010


Whew...I found it. Strangely, I could only locate it on my iphone. I went to accounts and under gmail I selected "all mail". It's possible that it was in the archive folder and that's why it showed up in all mail but not trash...I'm still not sure. Anyway, I moved it back to my inbox and I've learned an important lesson...don't click buttons when you don't know their function! Thanks!
posted by victoriab at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2010


So, just to explain gmail a bit, for future confusion: there is no "archive" folder. In fact, there are no folders at all in gmail. Every email you receive really only exists in "all mail". What gmail has instead of folders is labels. Everything in your inbox has the "inbox" label, and what your inbox actually is is a list of things that have the inbox label. If you remove the inbox label (or 'archive' it), it no longer shows up in the inbox, but it is still in all mail. You can also apply other labels (as many as you want, functionally [there's probably a theoretical limit] and then show only the emails with x label. The best way to find things in gmail is, in general, searching, not going through folders/mailboxes/labels.
posted by brainmouse at 3:39 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahh...this makes total sense and is such a vast improvement over folders but it's going to be difficult to realign my thinking.
posted by victoriab at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2010


Every email you receive really only exists in "all mail"

In fact every email you receive or send only exists in "all mail"; "Sent" is just another label from Gmail's point of view. And this is part of why people get confused when they send themselves a test Gmail and it "doesn't come through". Gmail keeps one copy of each mail it handles, the one you sent is already in "all mail" as soon as you sent it, and Gmail apparently sees no need to slap an "Inbox" label on mails it already has.
posted by flabdablet at 6:13 PM on October 24, 2010


it's going to be difficult to realign my thinking

Not just you. It wasn't that long ago that Gmail added a "move to folder" function whose job is to slap a new label on a mail and remove the label of the folder you're "moving it from". They did this because lots of people got confused by thinking of labels and folders the same way, and found it deeply unnatural that when you labelled something "work" it didn't disappear from "personal".
posted by flabdablet at 6:17 PM on October 24, 2010


flabdablet: "Not just you. It wasn't that long ago that Gmail added a "move to folder" function whose job is to slap a new label on a mail and remove the label of the folder you're "moving it from". They did this because lots of people got confused by thinking of labels and folders the same way, and found it deeply unnatural that when you labelled something "work" it didn't disappear from "personal"."

I was wondering what the "move" function did regarding the tags but this is a logical step for users like me that are so indoctrinated in the nightmare of nested folders. Is there a good "gmail for dummies" primer that I could read online? I'm wondering about filtering all my various email accounts through it but am not even sure that's possible or a good idea. I'd also really like to set this up from the beginning to work efficiently but I'm not even sure where to start.
posted by victoriab at 9:30 PM on October 25, 2010


Not aware of anything beyond Google's own help; sorry.

There are two ways to use Gmail to consolidate multiple mail accounts (which I personally find very useful): you can set each of those up to push mails to your Gmail account via some kind of forwarding facility, or you can tell Gmail to pull mails from the other account's mailboxes via POP3.

Of those, I prefer the POP3 solution because (a) Gmail makes setting it up quite ridiculously easy and (b) it allows Gmail to identify the source of each message 100% reliably and apply an appropriate label. The downside is that because Gmail is polling your other mailboxes and you have no control over how frequently it does that, you will sometimes experience a bit of delay before a mail moves from the other account to Gmail.

Having an external account forward its messages to Gmail means you're dealing with a bunch of different forwarders, some of which (such as Outlook Web Access) will mangle the message on the way through. Also, when such a message arrives at Gmail, there's no reliable way to identify the account it was originally sent to - filtering on the To: address is painful if the external account itself serves multiple addresses, and impossible for mails that get to you via bcc.

I like to set up the Gmail POP3 fetcher to delete the mail from the external account (since those often have ridiculously squitty little mailboxes), bypass the Gmail Inbox, and apply a label that identifies which account the message came from. Gmail ends up looking like it has a bunch of inboxes, one per account, each with its own unread count. It's quite neat.

You can also make Gmail send messages with the From: address set correctly for any other mail account you own. It can even do that by default on replies to mails that originally came from one of those accounts. You can also configure it to try sending those messages via the other account's associated SMTP server; that will often not work due to authentication issues, but if it does, as far as your recipient is concerned the mail really did come from the alternate account. If you have Gmail use its own SMTP server for outgoing mails to alternate addresses, some clients (notably Outlook) will show your recipients that the mail comes from "you@gmail.com on behalf of you@other.mail.address", which is kind of a pain but necessary to avoid such mails being technically indistinguishable from spam.
posted by flabdablet at 10:48 PM on October 25, 2010


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