LinkedIn messages do not expire or disappear. Once a message is sent on LinkedIn, it will stay in the recipient’s inbox indefinitely unless the sender or recipient deletes it. There is no time limit on how long a LinkedIn message can remain in the inbox before automatically deleting itself.
LinkedIn messages remain unless manually deleted
The key thing to understand about LinkedIn messaging is that there is no expiration date. LinkedIn does not automatically clear out or delete old messages after a certain period of time, like some other messaging platforms do. Once a message is received, it will sit in the recipient’s inbox unless they choose to delete it or archive it. There are no settings to auto-delete LinkedIn messages after 30 days, 90 days, etc. The messages remain unless manually removed by either party.
Some users may find it helpful to periodically clear out their LinkedIn message inbox to keep it organized and remove old or irrelevant conversations. However, LinkedIn itself does not impose any limit on message duration. You could feasibly have a message thread with another member that spans months or years. LinkedIn messaging is designed for ongoing professional communication and conversations, so there are no forced limits on lifespan.
Messages remain accessible after account deletion
An interesting quirk of LinkedIn messaging is that even if you or the other party deletes your LinkedIn account, the messages still remain accessible. LinkedIn keeps a record of all messages exchanged between members. So if you delete your account but the other person does not, they will still be able to view your past conversations in their inbox.
The messages do not automatically disappear when an account is deleted. LinkedIn retains the message history. However, the messages will show your name as “Unknown Sender” if your account no longer exists. And of course, you will not be able to view the messages any longer if you have deleted your own LinkedIn account.
Exceptions: When LinkedIn messages are deleted
While LinkedIn messages can theoretically remain indefinitely, there are some exceptions where LinkedIn will delete certain messages:
- Recipient deletes the message – If the recipient chooses to delete a message from their inbox, it will be removed from view and neither party will be able to access it anymore.
- Sender deletes the message – If the sender deletes a sent message from their “Sent” folder, the message will disappear from the recipient’s inbox as well.
- Member is banned from LinkedIn – If a member is banned for violating LinkedIn policies, their messages will be removed.
- Closing inactive accounts – LinkedIn may purge messages associated with inactive accounts that are closed.
Aside from those exceptions, messages are persistent and remain accessible unless manually deleted by one of the parties involved.
How to delete LinkedIn messages
If you want to delete LinkedIn messages, either as the sender or recipient, it is a simple process:
- Go to your LinkedIn inbox by clicking Messaging at the top of your LinkedIn feed.
- Locate the message thread you want to delete.
- Click on the gear icon or “More actions” menu associated with that message thread.
- Select “Delete conversation”.
- Confirm you want to delete the conversation.
Doing this will permanently delete the message thread from your inbox as well as the other participant’s inbox. It cannot be recovered.
You can also delete individual messages within a thread. Simply hover over a message and click the trash can icon to delete only that message.
If you want to remove a message thread from your inbox but retain the record of it, choose “Archive conversation” instead of “Delete conversation”. The other party will still be able to view the messages in their inbox.
LinkedIn message size limits
There are some restrictions on the amount of text you can include in a single LinkedIn message:
- Maximum of 20,000 characters per message sent
- Maximum of 100 attachments per message
- Maximum file size of 25MB per attachment
This allows you to send fairly lengthy messages back and forth. But LinkedIn does cap the size to prevent spamming and abuse.
Searching past LinkedIn messages
Since LinkedIn messages are indefinite, your inbox may contain hundreds or thousands of messages with various contacts after years of use. LinkedIn provides a search feature so you can easily find past messages.
To search your LinkedIn inbox:
- Go to the Messaging section.
- Click on the search bar at the top of your messages list.
- Enter keywords to search for specific messages or contacts.
- You can filter search by sender, date range, attachments, etc.
This allows you to quickly pull up a message thread without endless scrolling. You can search by contact name, company name, keywords, date, and other criteria.
LinkedIn messaging best practices
To make the most of LinkedIn’s indefinite messaging capabilities:
- Organize threads – Periodically archive or delete old threads to keep your inbox clean.
- Follow up – Follow up on important threads even if initial messages were sent months/years ago.
- Build relationships – Use extended messaging threads to build connections with your network.
- Search history – Use LinkedIn Search to quickly find critical past information when needed.
- Save attachments – If you receive useful attachments via message, save them externally as well.
With no automatic expiration, you can hold meaningful professional conversations across an unlimited timeframe on LinkedIn Messaging.
Limits of LinkedIn Messages vs InMail
LinkedIn Messaging provides basic member-to-member communication. But it does have some limits compared to LinkedIn’s premium InMail messaging feature:
- Messages only work between connected members – InMail can message anyone.
- No delivery or read receipts – InMail has full receipts.
- Appear in Other folder – InMail goes to primary inbox.
For expanded messaging capabilities, InMail is LinkedIn’s premium solution. But standard Messages provide basic open-ended conversation that remains indefinitely.
The key takeaways around LinkedIn Messages include:
- Messages do not expire automatically – they remain unless deleted.
- Messages may still be accessible after account deletion.
- Members can delete specific messages or entire threads.
- LinkedIn caps messages at 20,000 characters and 100 attachments.
- Use LinkedIn’s search feature to find old messages.
- InMail provides more features than basic messaging.
Utilize LinkedIn Messaging for ongoing professional conversations across an unlimited time span. With no forced expiration, LinkedIn messages can become a valuable record of communication with your network.