Maybe you have already migrated to Google Apps for Education on campus or are awaiting your go live date, but I get this question all the time in training and figured it was about time to make a post of it.
How do I get rid of, or at least do a search for mail older than a certain date?
There is a long list of advanced search operators that you can use in Gmail. The list can be found here. One of the most powerful ones is to search for messages by date and here is how it is done:
The search box is at the top of your Gmail screen. Simply type one of the operators below and the date to define your search. Click the magnifying icon.
For example if I wanted to get all mail older than 2010, I could type: before:2010/12/31
You can search a date range like the example below.
|Search for messages sent or received during a certain period of time
(using the date format yyyy/mm/dd)
|Example: after:2004/04/16 before:2004/04/18
Meaning: Messages sent between April 16, 2004 and April 18, 2004.*
*More precisely: Messages sent after 12:00 AM (or 00:00) April 16, 2004 and before April 18, 2004.
|Similar to older and newer, but allows relative dates using d,m, and y for day, month, andyear||Example: newer_than:2d
Meaning: Finds messages sent within the last two days.
If you come up with multiple pages of results and you wanted for example delete all of those messages (be careful: remember trash is permanently deleted after 30 days in gmail) you could check off the “select all” box in the upper left. Once you do that, the selected messages on that page will turn yellow. Now my search is telling me that I have 44 pages worth of email that is older than 2010. I could go through each page and select all and delete, or to make thing easier, Gmail will pop up a message asking if you would like to Select all conversations that match this search. If you click on those words all messages in that date range and all pages of those email will all be selected at the same time. You could now hit the delete button.