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How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

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How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

Clean up Gmail

    I am not a fan of deleting emails from my Gmail.

    The reason is simple: I love Gmail search and I often use it to find past conversations and bring up old contacts. I receive and read my email using Thunderbird, but I use the Gmail web interface to find all the past correspondence (which can be accessed from any computer — provided I remember my login details).

    However, in some cases there’s absolutely no point in saving some of your emails — you’ll never get back to them. So why clutter your email archive?

    The Basics: Deleting Emails in Gmail

    In case you don’t know how to delete all emails filtered by your search, here’s a quick how-to:

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    1. Select “All”
    2. Then click “Select all XXXX conversations in Search results
    3. Delete

    Delete all emails

      Tip #1: Delete Automated Updates

      Search: [from:noreply* OR from:do-not-reply* OR from:donotreply* OR from:notification*]

      This way you’ll filter out all the automated updates that come from bots (such as social media friend requests (noreply-xxx@plus.google.com), calendar reminders (noreply@zohocalendar.com), etc.). Chances are, you’ll need those updates only once in a lifetime.

      Automated emails

        Bonus Tip: Don’t create a filter to delete those emails, as this will delete all the future updates as well. Instead, create a calendar reminder to do the regular clean up at least quarterly.

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        Tip #2: Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

        Search: [from:wordpress* OR from:disqus]

        If you are a blogger who hasn’t disabled comments, you’re probably getting email notifications each time a comment is pending approval or waiting for your reply. While these are probably useful for a “one-time notification”, there’s no reason to keep them in your inbox/archive.

        Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

          Tip #3: Clean Up Email Subscriptions

          Search option one: [unsubscribe]

          Search option two: [from:news* OR from:digest* OR from:auto* OR from:reports* OR from:*mailer*]

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          Not all emails here are likely to be worth deleting (I usually refer back to my most important email subscriptions if I forget a link or need a citation for a blog post, for example). But this search is a great starting point. Now you can go through search results and check any email you don’t think you need to keep. Simply click on “Filter messages like this” and create a filter to delete all of them.

          Filter messages like this

            You can also unsubscribe while you are there to prevent future emails. I mean, it’s a good thing to clean up your email subscriptions as well while you are there…right?

            Bonus Tip: And there’s an app for that! Unroll.me is a great online tool that lets you sign in (using Gmail authentication) and then scans your email inbox for possible subscriptions. You can unsubscribe from any of the emails right from within the tool interface:

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            unroll.me

              Emails I Never Delete

              Like I said, I love my Gmail inbox for archiving all of my correspondence for me and keeping it in “the cloud”. No matter how often I move from computer to computer or change email clients, I can always rest assured that my email archive is intact.

              As a result, I don’t like deleting too much of my email — especially the following types:

              • Personal correspondence with my contacts (obviously);
              • Invoices and payment confirmations;
              • Brand-name tracking updates (from Google Alerts, for example). These could be turned into the great source of brand-growth analysis. Besides, they can be used to later bring up your brand promoters.

              To make sure I never accidentally delete important emails when doing regular clean up, I create a “Always mark it as important” filter.

              Filter important emails

                Do you have any tips for cleaning up your email inbox? Please let me know in the comments!

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                Last Updated on November 25, 2021

                How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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                How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

                There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

                Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

                  What Does Private Browsing Do?

                  When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

                  For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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                  The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

                  The Terminal Archive

                  While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

                  Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

                  dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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                  Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

                  Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

                  However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

                  Clearing Your Tracks

                  Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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                  dscacheutil -flushcache

                  As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

                  Other Browsers and Private Browsing

                  Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

                  If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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                  As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

                  Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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