How to Delete Email in Bulk on a Mac

by Avery Martin
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Quickly get the email inbox on your Mac under control using built-in options to delete and filter large amounts of email. Apple Mail includes many built-in features to help you organize, flag, sort and view your email messages. When you want to delete a large amount of email simultaneously, you can search for the specific emails you want to delete and rid your email boxes of unwanted messages. You can also use a filter to automatically delete specific types of email messages and avoid the need to manually delete those messages in the future.

Search for Emails

Step 1

Select the Inbox you want to search in the sidebar of the Mail application.

Step 2

Type a search term in the Search box to locate messages using a specific email address, subject line or other criteria and press the "Enter" key.

Step 3

Click the "Edit" menu in Apple Mail and choose "Select All" from the drop-down menu.

Step 4

Hold down the "Command" key and click on any messages you want to keep to deselect important messages.

Click the "Edit" menu and select "Delete" to delete the selected messages.

Filter Emails

Step 1

Click the "Mail" menu and select "Preferences."

Step 2

Select the "Rules" tab and click "Add Rule."

Step 3

Enter a description for the rule in the Description field.

Step 4

Select the filter options by selecting each drop-down menu to choose when a rule applies and then type the criteria into the text fields. For example, select "Any" from the "If [Any] of the Following Conditions Are Met" drop-down box. Then, select criteria for the filter by choosing the "Any Recipient" and "Contains" drop-down menus. Type the criteria in the text field and press the "+" button. You might type an email address or a word that appears in a subject line.

Step 5

Select the drop-down boxes in the Perform the Following Actions section. Choose "Delete Message" from the first drop-down menu and click the "+" button.

Click the "OK" button and select "Apply" to run the rule and delete any email messages that fit your specified criteria.


  • Information in this article applies to Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

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