Delete Attachments from Gmail Messages

by Michael on August 20, 2012 · 0 comments

Dear Google: I know I just asked you to add a “Send and Delete” button to the Gmail interface, but I have another request… Please, please, please make it possible for us to delete attachments from individual messages.


Here again, I know that this request flies in the face of your “archive, don’t delete” philosophy so please hear me out. This isn’t about space, it’s about security. I frequently receive documents that probably shouldn’t have been sent via e-mail and I don’t want them left on the server in case my account is compromised.

What I really want to do is pull the file down (where I can secure it properly) and delete it from the Gmail server. At the same time, I want to retain the accompanying message. There are, of course, some workarounds, but none are as easy as pulling down a menu or clicking a link.

Here are two possible workarounds:

  • Download the attachments, forward the message to myself (sans attachments), and delete the original message; or
  • Access my account via IMAP (using Thunderbird or the like) and delete the attachment (but not the message) from there.

Both work (more or less), but… The former screws up the “from” information so it’s not a very good option and the latter requires a desktop application which defeats the purpose of webmail. Whaddayathink? Please?

Yours truly,

The guy who really, really (really!) want to be able to delete attachments

P.S. For those of you that opt for the IMAP workaround, you can make it more efficient by adding a label like “delete_attachment” to the messages in question. This makes them very easy to find.


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