This is a complete guide to InMoat Retro. Learn about the key features, terminology, and how to use it effectively to clean your inbox for a fresh new start.

What is Retro?

Retro is a total inbox cleaner. InMoat takes care of new emails as they come in, but Retro lets you clean up all the emails you got before you started using InMoat at all. That's why we call it Retro: it lets you use InMoat filters on all your old emails retroactively.

How does Retro work?

When you run Retro, InMoat scans your entire inbox—whether it contains 50 emails or 50,000—and organizes your emails into bite-sized groups, like Calendar Notifications or Banking & Finance. This lets you tackle your old emails in a compact, intuitive way instead of trudging through all your emails at once.

Think of Retro like an online store. You can shop through all your emails by category, pick out what you want, add them to your cart, and then check out. At the end, you'll have all the emails you want, and the rest will be tucked away out of sight.

Once you’ve found the emails you want to keep, you're ready to complete Retro. Click "Check out," and InMoat will begin cleaning out your inbox. Every email you've decided to keep will be moved to a new @Retro folder (so they're still out of your inbox for now), and all the rest will be moved to your Trash folder.

Don't worry, nothing will be deleted unless you want it to be! All Retro does is move emails to either your @Retro folder or your Trash—it leaves the rest to you. Delete everything in your Trash, or not—

Note: InMoat Retro is a paid feature and is not available during the free trial period. If you wish to use Retro before your trial ends, you can do so by manually upgrading to the paid plan at any time.  

InMoat only scans only the emails in your primary inbox (so you never have to worry about removing emails that are already placed within folders/labels)

Understanding InMoat Retro Terminology

1. "Retro Session"

A Retro Session is the period of time it takes to start and finish cleaning your inbox. It begins from the moment you initiate your Retro Scan (eg. when you click "Start Retro Scan"), and ends when you’ve finalized the moving of emails to your trash folder.

There is no set time limit for a Retro Session. You can take 30 minutes or 30 days – it’s solely up to you. However, it’s important to note that a Retro Session will only contain emails that existed during the initial Retro scan.

For example: let’s say you initiated a Retro Scan at 8am today, InMoat will only scan your inbox for all the emails that were received before 8am. If you receive 20 new emails tomorrow, those 20 emails will not be included in your Retro session. Therefore, it’s best practice to complete your retro within a reasonable time frame.

2. "Categories"

When InMoat scans and groups your emails based on priority/topic, they are presented as Categories.

Categories are collections of specific types of emails, such as Security-related notices, Payment notifications, Newsletters, Calendar Notices, etc. Retro categories are similar to the topics of existing Smart Filters.

Categories may also contain sub-categories and filters to help you refine your results even further, all so you can easily identify what you do or don't want to keep.

3. "Keep Listv (also referred to as “Kept List”) vs. "Clean List"

The majority of emails piled in our inboxes are likely unimportant and/or no longer relevant, which makes it exhausting to find what we need, when we need it. That’s why we intentionally designed Retro to break your emails into bite-sized pieces, so you can quickly review and keep only what you need.

The Keep List is a list of emails you want want/need to keep for future records.

As you sift through the emails in your Retro Categories, you can add/save important email messages to your Keep List. Any emails you add to your Keep List will not be deleted when you complete your Retro Session. All emails in your Keep List will be neatly filed away in your @Retro folder, which will be located under your @InMoat folder once you complete your Retro Session.

The Clean List are all the other emails you decided not to keep. All emails in your clean list will wind up in the Trash Folder of your email provider when you complete your Retro Session.

Note: by default, all emails will be part of the Clean List until you add them to your Keep list.

4. "Trash Cart"

Similar to a shopping cart on an e-commerce site, InMoat’s Trash Cart is the final step of your Retro Session. The Trash Cart is where you review a full list of all the emails you plan to Keep vs Clean, before completing your Retro session.

If any changes are needed, you can always move emails from your Keep List to Clean List, or vice versa. InMoat will never move emails to your Trash Folder until you accept and confirm your Retro session.

(Reminder: *The Trash Cart is not the same as your Trash/Delete folder within your inbox. The Trash Cart is part of the Retro feature directly in your InMoat app. The Trash/Delete folder is the actual trash bin located in your email provider).

5. "@Retro Folder"

The @Retro folder is where all of the emails you decided to keep get stored. By moving these emails out of sight and into the @Retro folder, you can finally clear up your main inbox yet still have access to these emails should you need them in the future.
Note: the @Retro folder will only appear once you finalize your Retro Session.

When you confirm and finalize your Retro Session, InMoat will begin moving the respective emails within your inbox. Emails from your Keep List will be moved to the @Retro folder-- which will be located under your @InMoat folder within your mailbox.

Step-by-step guide: How to use Retro

Reminder: Retro is only available for Premium users. If you are still on the free trial, you will have to upgrade your account or wait until your trial period ends. Alternatively, you can opt-in to InMoat's Pay with Email plan. Read more about the Pay with Email plan here.

When you’re ready to run a Retro to clean your inbox, follow these steps:

Step 1. Log in to your InMoat dashboard and go to the Retro page on the side navigation menu.

Step 2. Click 'Start Retro Scan'

Tip: When the scan is done, you'll receive an email notification - so you do not need to keep the InMoat app open.

Note: scan times can vary depending on various factors, such as how many emails you have, how many users are actively running a Retro session.

Step 3. Review your emails grouped into categories

To open and view emails in a category, click on the category tile.

To break emails down further, click on 'Filters' inside the category modal.

Step 4. Add important emails you want to keep, if any.

If you find email(s) you want to keep, use the checkbox to select the email(s); and click 'Keep' emails. All selected emails will be moved to your Keep List.

To add emails to your Keep List: select the checkbox next to the email(s), and then click on KEEP SELECTED. The email will be moved to your Keep List.

Make sure to SAVE any changes you make to your Keep List. Even if you are not done reviewing all emails in a category and/or want to come back to it later, make sure to SAVE your changes before exiting the category.

To view your Keep List: click on Show Kept Messages, which can be located in the top-right of the Category modal. If you change your mind about an email or accidentally add an email to your Keep list, don’t worry - you can always make any changes to your Keep list.

To undo / remove an email from your Keep List: go to your Keep List within the category, select the email(s) you want to remove, and hit UNKEEP SELECTED.

Note: Keeping emails are handled per each individual Retro Category.

*Reminder: only focus on emails you want to save. InMoat will handle everything else!

Step 5. Clear out the emails you don't want/need

Once you're done adding emails to your Keep List, you can simply move the rest of the emails in the category to your Trash Cart.

To move the remaining emails to the Trash Cart: select "CLEAR EVERYTHING ELSE!" in the category. All emails from the category will be moved to the appropriate list (Keep or Clean) in your Trash Cart, where you can review everything again once more before you finalize your Retro Session.

Reminder: you’ll have to do this for each category.

Step 6. Repeat step 5 for each category until you finish clearing out all categories to the Trash Cart

Step 7. Review your Trash Cart

Once you've moved all emails to your Trash Cart, you can review your Keep List and Clean List one last time. You can make any changes needed. Note: this is the final step before finalizing your Retro Session.

Step 8. Complete Retro

After you've finalized your Keep List, select "Complete Retro" to complete your Retro session. After you complete, InMoat will begin moving your emails to the respective folders within your inbox:

  • Emails in your Keep List will be moved to your @Retro Folder
  • Emails in your Clean List will be moved to your Trash/Delete folder in your inbox

When InMoat is done moving your emails, we'll send you an Retro completion confirmation email.

Retro FAQ

How long does InMoat Retro take to scan / move emails?

In order to present your retroactive emails into categories, InMoat needs to scan and tag your emails accordingly. Therefore, a Retro Scan can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. The total scan time varies depending on a few factors:

Quantity of emails

The total number of emails you have in your inbox can affect scan time. Obviously the more emails you have, the longer it will take InMoat to scan through all of them

Length of emails

InMoat Retro scans against the entirety of an email message before tagging it– which means the length of an email message can affect total scan time.

For example, if you have thousands of email newsletters that all contain large amounts of text and numerous paragraphs, it will take InMoat longer than usual to scan through all emails.

Restrictions and limitations set by your email provider

Last but not least, scan time is also affected by external factors outside of our control, such as the restrictions and limitations set by your email provider’s APIs. This is common practice within the industry.

In simpler terms, InMoat needs to connect with Gmail and Outlook via their APIs in order to provide you with our services, which means we need to oblige by their rules. Both Gmail and Outlook have hourly rate-limits, so there are only so many emails we are able to scan for every minute. If we’re going too fast, we’ll need to slow down.

Overall, the average scan time based on our early beta users has been about ~5-10 minutes for every 5,000 emails. We’re working to optimize the speed of our email scan times. We’ll continue to update this document as we release improvements.

Tip: when you’re running a Retro Scan, feel free to navigate away from the Retro page. No need to keep it open, waiting for the progress bar to load. We’ll automatically email you once your Retro Scan is complete!

I accidentally deleted an email. How can I retrieve it?

If you accidentally cleaned out an email after completing a Retro session, don’t panic! InMoat never permanently deletes your emails when you complete a Retro session. InMoat moves all the emails you decided to clean out to your Trash bin / Delete Folder directly within your mailbox.

You can retrieve an email directly you accidentally deleted by searching for it directly in your Trash bin or Deleted Folder. Once you find it, simply move it back to your main inbox, the @Retro folder, or any folder you’d like to file it in.

*NOTE: By default, both Gmail and Outlook will keep any emails in Trash/Deleted folder for up to 30 days. After the 30 days, Gmail and Outlook will permanently delete ALL emails.

If you need to retrieve an email, make sure to do so within 30 days of completing a Retro Session.

Where do my "Kept" emails go?

Once you complete a Retro Session, InMoat moves out emails in your inbox according to your Retro criteria: Kept vs Clean.

Emails you decided to keep will be moved from your primary inbox and neatly tucked away in your @Retro folder within your mailbox (the @Retro folder can be found as a sub-folder / sub-label within your @InMoat folder).

Note: the @Retro folder will only appear AFTER you complete a Retro Session.

All other emails
Emails you decided NOT to keep will be moved out of your inbox and into your Trash bin / Delete folder within your actual mailbox.

Does Retro scan emails in my folder(s)?

No. InMoat only scans emails that are in the primary mailbox. InMoat will never scan or move emails that are already placed in folders.

We take privacy very seriously. If you’re interested in learning more about how InMoat handles email data, we invite you to read about our protocols and security measures here.

I want to use Retro for my other email accounts. Do you offer any discounts?

Yes. Please contact

How many times can I run a Retro session?

Subscribed InMoat users receive a complimentary Retro session ONCE a year.

If you are a subscribed user and would like to use Retro again, we offer discounted rates. Please contact us.

Can I use Retro during the Free Trial period?

InMoat Retro is a paid feature and is not available for use during the free trial. You can upgrade directly in the InMoat app ( Or you can wait until your free trial ends.  

Alternatively, you can get InMoat for free by opting in to our Pay with Email plan. To learn more about different subscription plans, click here.