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Thanks to a recent Gmail search update, it is now easier than ever before to search for messages by size and date. For example, you can now search for larger:5m to yield all messages that have attachments larger than 5MB. Better yet, you can combine this with the older_than operator and search for size:5m older_than:1y, thus yielding a list of all messages older than a year and larger than 5MB.

Gmail’s free space quota has always been generous, and currently stands at over 10GB (and famously, it is constantly growing, as you can see on the Gmail.com page when you’re not signed in to any account). Still, if you’ve been using a free Gmail account for years, you may have ancient photos, videos, and other large attachments clogging up your inbox and taking up precious space. Thanks to these new operators, you can now download these attachments and delete the messages that contained them, freeing up valuable space.

For a full list of Gmail’s search operators, you can check out the Gmail documentation. The operators are numerous and powerful, letting you search within particular message labels, search only for messages sent to one of your addresses (if you have several), and even search only within Google Chat messages (which are recorded on Gmail by default). Finding the message you need on Gmail has never been easier.

Source: Official Gmail Blog

  1. Anonymous
    November 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    is 'size:5m' and 'larger:5m' the same??

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      I believe the former is "exactly 5M" and the latter is "5M or more".

  2. Anonymous
    November 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Worth it anyway! Thanks a bunch for posting this!

  3. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    November 16, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Is there any way to remove the attachments but keep the messages intact?

    • Erez Zukerman
      November 18, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      I'm afraid not... You could always copy/paste the message and send only the text to yourself as a reply, though.

  4. Kris
    November 16, 2012 at 2:13 am

    A sort by button with multiple options would be far more useful, similar to the "more" button. It's rather cumbersome and archaic to have to remember sort operator terms.

  5. Florin Ardelian
    November 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I don't get it. I have a total of 3,697 emails, but smaller_than:100KB gives me 74 results, and larger_than:100KB gives me 78 results. Where are the other 3,545 emails?

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      November 16, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      That's weird indeed. Maybe it only works for messages with attachments?

      • Florin Ardelian
        November 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        Okay, this is even weirder: larger_than:100KB yields 78 results, while larger_than:10KB yields 73 results.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          November 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

          You should try contacting Google. Maybe there's something wrong with their algorithm. Perhaps some hidden limitation so larger_than:10KB will search for messages between 10-90something KB?

        • Erez Zukerman
          November 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

          If you click next-next-next (i.e, scroll through the pages with results), the count will change. The count you see is just an estimation.

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