How Many Unread Messages Are in Your Inbox?

Inbox unread items

Last week I wrote about four steps that have helped me keep my email inbox under control. I mentioned my wife’s interesting inbox, where she has over 7000 unread messages in her main email account. I wonder if that is some sort of record. Whether it is or it isn’t, I’m curious how many unread messages you have in your inbox. Let us know in the comments.

The number of unread items in my inbox varies from zero to maybe 20 at any time. It’s never 20 for long, though. I don’t like to use my inbox as a holding area for tasks, any more than I’d want to stuff mail back into my physical mailbox to save for a later date. I aim to zero out my inbox every couple of days. As I go through it, if a message  requires action on my part that will take more than a minute or two, I move that message over to OmniFocus as a task.

How many unread items are in your email inbox? By “unread,” I mean the unread count that your email app or service reports, even if you’ve actually already read the message and marked it as unread.

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. 418 … but I’ve read most of those on my Pre.

  2. Right now 7.

    But I guess I’ll be able to zero that until the end of the day :)

    IQTELL’s latest blog post The body language connection to productivity

  3. I think there are lots of them i haven’t actually count any ..

  4. 0 unread mails right now – and less than 10 “starred” mails.

  5. I’d like to discuss another topic: Archiving emails. I use GMail and never bother to archive my mails; what are the benefits?

    • If you mean archive vs. just leave in your inbox, it is just a question of tidiness I guess – keeping them out of your main view.

      If you mean archive vs. delete, it just comes down to whether you’ll ever actually need to access the message again.

  6. I’ll admit the best way to get ahold of me is definitely not through my e-mail but 7000? That’s crazy! Right now I have 278 and haven’t checked it in a couple of days. If there was a way to show my e-mails on my facebook account I just may check it more often. Sad I know.

  7. Wow! 7000 is a really big number. I have about 3, ooo unread messages in my inbox. How do you sort your messages in your inbox? Anyway, thanks for sharing this post.


    • 7,000 unread??? That’s a ton. Evan – great post. Allow me to introduce you to PhilterIt (, a brand new visual inbox that allows you to personalize the people and brands you care about the most. We’re bringing the smartphone look and feel to the inbox. We’re giving the inbox a makeover and we’d love for you all to check us out.

  8. You’ll be surprise :) I have 19,000 unread messages in my inbox. My biggest mistake was that I subscribed Internet marketers who promoted to another Internet marketers. And now, their emails flood my inbox.

    • Ouch. One of the earliest posts I wrote here on the site a few years ago had to do with using a “Bacon” email address, instead of your main one, to sign up for online offers, register for pages, etc.

  9. My school account is at 126, but it is the summer at this point… It’s not all that bad though, I’m thrilled that my gmail is at 4 right now! And that’s because I’m using PowerInbox ( – it lets me interact with the content of my emails right inside them emails themselves. When i get a LinkedIn email, I can accept invitations, view network updates, send requests to people I may know, and follow interesting companies! It’s awesome and just like using apps on my iphone! Their blog can also be found at – I’d recommend it!!

  10. I have 62,485 unread emails, I do use my email every day, I just open the one’s I need and don’t bother with the rest. You will be surprised how fast they add up.

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