Emails disappear from Outlook Inbox after being read

It is not the first time that users or clients come to me complaining that as soon as they read an email in their Inbox folder in Outlook, the email disappears when they select another email or folder.

Every time this is caused by the user (somehow!) creating a view filter to only display unread emails:


Once the filter is removed, everything is back to normal!


32 thoughts on “Emails disappear from Outlook Inbox after being read”

  1. This is not the case with me. I just checked the filters and they are OFF. It seems to delete an email when the email has been Forwarded to me.

    1. Hi Tim,

      That could be caused by many reasons, this tip was just one of them. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the same for every single case.
      I’m assuming you already checked all your Inbox rules?


    1. Hi Heide,

      That will depend on which version of Outlook you are using. But on recent versions, you go “File” and then “Manage Rules & Alerts”.


  2. riaan robbeson

    Had the same issue, started after I set up my Google mail account to include my work email with my Google mail account. Emails disappeared from my Outlook and IMAP accounts with no trace whatsoever. Turns out there is a setting on Google mail that needs to be activated on the added email account edit settings : “leave copy of retrieved email on server” Ticked the box and all appears normal now.

  3. I’m a luddite & newly forced on Outlook 16.15 from entourage! Emails are disappearing and I cannot find the option to not have them moved after opening. Not under “rules” not under “file”. ugh

  4. I am with Dawn – just went to Outlook 2016 and now some emails have lines through them and others appear and disappear at random. Checked rules and alerts, filtering and no dice. I am starting to miss lotus notes…

  5. Hi there – i receive daily 1000 emails but there is always one that I see, even read, and it is gone nowhere to be found! Happens every day. The other 999 emails are fine. Can you please help me. I have outlook mac 2018 and use also another computer and ipad and ihpome to access emails. Exchange. Ta! Mark

  6. Hi.havjng the same problem with emails disappearing and can’t find the only items unread box anywhere.please advise where I find this.i have looked in view file.

  7. Just happened to me when I loaded Outlook desktop O365.
    click view tab
    click ‘view settings’ (gear icons on top right)
    click ‘filter’ on the left of the popup
    click the ‘more choices’ tab
    uncheck the options like ‘only items that are’. I unchecked every one of them.
    then click ‘ok’ and you’re done.

    That was irritating. Been doing nerd work for 25 years and I know I did not set any of those. I’m guessing that something in Outlook either defaults that or causes that to default.

  8. Hi, once I opened my emails in outlook on my laptop, I noticed that most if not all of my emails, will disappear from the inbox on my iPhone. Any suggestions?

  9. I’s having a different issue. E-mails in my g-mail account show-up with a notification in my Outlook, but they are not displayed in my inbox (I just get the notification). They are in my e-mail on my iphone. I also notice that the “Synchronizing Inbox” bar at the bottom is constently in synchronizing mode with teh moving striped line.

  10. Nuna

    Thanks for simple fix
    I changed my view to unread emails and when I changed back to all emails the read emails would not display.
    It seems that the show unread emails options changes the filter that you identified.

  11. Hi. I’m using outlook 2020 on a MacBook Pro. I have the same problem where emails disappear once I click on them. Cleared all rules and filters, but I still have the problem. Anything else I can do? Thank you so much.

  12. suddenly my email are disappeared from my outlook inbox. i checked already all folders including archive, deleted and also spam or junk. And this was my office mail and i checked in web-mail also, there also i could not find. Now i have only 1 week of mail only (New) rest were gone. Please help me…. Thank You

    1. Hi Salman,

      If this is your corporate email, you should raise it with your local IT ServiceDesk so they can have a look.
      Have you looked at Outlook’s Auto Archive feature? Maybe it’s exporting your emails to a PST.


  13. Hi,
    I have a shared e-mail and once I close an e-mail, they get deleted! I tried to look in the deleted carpets and the e-mails weren’t there, went to rules and I don’t have any, view settings, and none of it seems to work.
    Do you know what else I could try?

  14. My box is having this issue on her Thunderbird account with our company’s outlook emails. She clicked on the VIEW tab, but did not see “view settings”….

    You have any idea or solution?

  15. July 2021: Solved I found that my iPhone was archiving the emails on the iPhone itself and this was effectively deleting them from the server and eventually any client. To fix this create a new archive folder in Outlook, ready to receive all the “lost” emails. Call it something like [email protected] Next, open the Mail app on iPhone, go to email account of interest, select “All Mail” folder (which includes the archived emails, select edit and select all the mail items, move them to the newly created folder. You may want to shut off auto archiving within the app itself or at least point the auto archive folder to your new folder, resident on the server, not the iphone. Give the various apps some time to sync before rushing things or you may only get a partial transfer.

  16. Hi, yesterday all my read emails disappeared from the outlook page. The only emails saved are the ones that I put into different folders. They all seem to be there. I have not had any updates, changes, etc. and am the only person using this machine. How and why did they just disappear and how do I get them back? I just had a quick look (not really computer savvy) and it appears that many of my emails from different email addresses are not being received either. Many thanks in advance

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