I am subscribed to a newsletter, everyday I get emails but once I read them I delete them. After sending them to the trash and emptying it, next day I receive the usual email, but the previous email is also shown below the new email. The problem happens with my gmail and hotmail accounts.

How can I set things up so that when I delete a mail from my Gmail Inbox, it also gets deleted on the servers and other devices?

I don't want them to be somewhere around I don't need them. Every time I receive an email from the newsletter I got a list of all the emails dating back to 3 or more months. I remember I delete them one by one and then emptying the trash but no luck next day there were all of them as part of the "conversation".

  • 1
    Are you using mail on OS X, iOS, or some other OS? It's likely a mis-configuration of the settings you chose when setting up those two accounts (or a bad choice of mail protocols). POP mail is notorious for making multiple copies of each message and when you delete one, the other copies do not get deleted. Gmail has a whole host of other problems with how it handles multiple copies of one mail message, so you might need to ask this twice unless you're looking for a general answer how to set up email so that you don't get multiple copies.
    – bmike
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:28
  • I forgot it, my mistake. This is under OS X 10.8 ... What annoys me more is my gmail account, how to configure it then?
    – BRabbit27
    Apr 22, 2013 at 16:13
  • Does anyone one where can I find info on how to properly configure this?
    – BRabbit27
    May 2, 2013 at 6:59
  • Gmail considers it a feature that when you delete a message it goes into the trash and is kept there for 30 days before being actually deleted. This allows you to retrieve deleted messages for a while but does eventually get them deleted. AFAIK this is not configurable. As for messages lingering more than 30 days, be sure you are using IMAP, and that you are not actually archiving messages rather than deleting them. By default, most Gmail clients on OS X archive mail when you hit the trashcan button and you need to move messages to the trash folder instead to really delete them.
    – Old Pro
    May 5, 2013 at 21:39

5 Answers 5


There is a several hundred word long tutorial,

Full Step-by-Step Tutorial taken from here, that I have used to solve this problem so in addition to the author testing it, I too have things fully working.

Here are the steps from the article as well as details from the two key steps.

Step 1: Configure Apple Mail preferences

Step 2: Assign mailbox functions

Step 3: Set the [Gmail]/ prefix on custom labels

Step 4: Designate which labels show in IMAP

Since this is the most important step, here are the details

While you’re in the Labels tab, uncheck the “Show in IMAP” box for All Mail because you don’t want that showing up in Apple Mail anymore. This is important to ensure the delete button sends messages to the Trash in Mail.app. The “Show in IMAP” box will determine which labels appear in Apple Mail. Feel free to uncheck the “Show in IMAP” box for any other labels while you’re at it. Changes are saved automatically.

Step 5: Forwarding and POP/IMAP

This also is a key step where google allows you to delete a message once it's removed from tha “last visible IMAP folder.” By hiding the All Mail label in IMAP, there should only be one “visible” copy of your message, so when you delete the message in Mail, it will now move the message to the Trash.

enter image description here

Step 6: Restart Apple Mail

Step 7: Test it out

I've tested this on Lion 10.7.5 and works perfectly. All images are from Jeff Schuette as is the quoted text explaining how google can be set up to work like all the rest of the Mail servers to delete messages when you trash them.

  • I very much appreciate your finding and posting this, but have a look at our faq. Thie parts you posted verbatum should be clearly visible and attributed. jeffschuette.com/2012/03/07/… - perhaps describing the steps and your experience with it should make up the. Majority of your post.
    – bmike
    May 9, 2013 at 1:37
  • Thanks. I've added more credits into the head of reply. I read faq but sincerly I don't read anything specific about quoting parts. If I should edit my answer please, feel free to tell me how (I'm new here and I have to learn how to post better).
    – MnO
    May 9, 2013 at 6:32
  • Since the words aren't yours, how about we summarize the steps and have people go to the main page for the hundreds of words that Jeff wrote. It looks like you wrote it if you don't quote things...
    – bmike
    May 9, 2013 at 15:04
  • You're absolutely right. Thanks for your effort into editing my answer. I did't know how to properly quote text (eg. with greyed background). I'm here to learn and help for what I can :)
    – MnO
    May 9, 2013 at 23:01

Google have some documentation about how to set up Gmail in Apple Mail here: perhaps that page might help you. They suggest going for IMAP over POP (my emphasis below):

Finally, IMAP offers a more stable experience overall. Whereas POP is prone to losing messages or downloading the same messages multiple times, IMAP avoids this through two-way syncing capabilities between your mail clients and your web Gmail.


Setting up Gmail on a Mac is super quick and painless in 10.7+. Just use the System Preferences > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars pane.

For your issue, go to Mail and from the menu bar uncheck View > Organize by Conversation

Even though you deleted the messages the conversation view will display them below your current message from that sender even when the message is in the trash mailbox.

You could also set Mail to empty the deleted items every so often in the Mail preferences under the individual account settings for Mailbox Behaviors.


Per this KB article Deleting IMAP messages, "If you want to delete a message from all folders, move it to the [Gmail]/Trash folder." If you don't move them to the Trash folder, they will just be removed from the currently selected folder (tag) on the server, and put into All Mail (Archived).

So if you go into Prefereces...->Accounts->Gmail Account->Mailbox Behaviors and then check:

Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox
Store deleted messages on the server

Your messages will be moved to the Trash instead of being archived when you delete them. Per that same article, "If you delete a message from [Gmail]/Spam or [Gmail]/Trash, it will be deleted permanently."

Update: Forgot the last part of this, you have to go into Settings->Forwarding and POP/IMAP in Gmail and pick what you want to happen for When I mark a message in IMAP as deleted and When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last visible IMAP folder

  • When you set up Mail on OS X and Gmail in this manner, does the Erase Deleted Items menu (Shift-Command-Delete key shortcut) then delete all the messages permanently? (Or do you still need to use the web interface to ensure a message is really gone once you delete it out of the Inbox?)
    – bmike
    May 6, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    Just updated, as long as you have gmail setup to really delete stuff in its settings, then it should be gone from gmail once you delete it.
    – Zanson
    May 6, 2013 at 17:36

There are two factors that are combining to dredge up the past:

  1. Apple's Mail app will try to link all messages according so several criteria.
  2. Gmail has designed a system to prevent the majority of people from ever deleting mail messages. They do this by presenting an Inbox view that is a subset of the All Messages store and deleting a message from the inbox doesn't actually delete the message unless you take several steps in coordination to ensure a deletion actually deletes all "copies" of that message.

Additionally, OS X email queues operations for deletion and sending, so when you take action on an item (like sending it or deleting it), it gets queued for operation and can get derailed / postponed / corrupted. iOS completes the task and then plays a sound, mail plays the sound and then tries to complete the app / queuing it and optionally notifying you later if it fails to eventually get the mail server to obey your commands.

The simple solution to your seeing past messages might be to disable related messages so you don't ever see the old messages.

enter image description here

However, this feature is useful for other reasons, so you might need to dig into the details of how gmail works to allow you to hide certain messages from IMAP (I would suggest simply hiding All Mail from IMAP or get rid of the gmail inbox entirely and that way when you delete a message it means what you want it to mean across all of your mail clients - OS X, iOS, and other clients you may care to use).

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