Archive is an unsung Gmail feature that’s useful for organizing your inbox. It helps you tidy your inbox when you are not ready to delete emails. Whether you archived an email intentionally or accidentally, you may need to get it back in your inbox. Accessing those emails can be challenging (let alone unarchiving them) as there is no archive folder in Gmail

Luckily, the archived emails are still within reach. So, where do archived emails go, and how can you unarchive them? Read on to get these answers.

Where Do Archived Emails Go?

Archive emails go to the All Mail folder until you manually unarchive or delete them. Besides, it is possible to find an email and read it without unarchiving it whether you are using a phone or computer:

Method 1: Finding Archived Emails on a Computer

Step 1: Open your Gmail and click more 

Tap more.

Go to the Gmail menu; on the left sidebar, click more to expand the menu.

Step 2: Click All Mail 

Tap on All Mail.

Click the All Mail folder to open the emails here. This folder contains all emails in that account.

Step 3: Look for the email on the archive

Search a particular email.

You can find an archived email using the search bar. Direct the cursor in the search bar, and type the keywords and the subject of the archived email. You can select a particular email among the results that show up.

Method 2: Finding Archived Emails on a Phone

Follow these steps.

Step 1: Open your Gmail app and click the hamburger menu

Click the three lines to open a menu.

Open the Gmail menu by clicking the three lines in the top left corner. 

Step 2: Select All Mail 

Tap All Mail.

Open the All Mail folder to open all the emails in that Gmail account.

Step 3: Find your archived email 

Look for the archived email.

Scroll through the list of emails as you look for your archived email. It is easier to identify if you remember the email’s date or subject.

How to Unarchive Emails

Archived emails are automatically restored to the main inbox after you receive an email on the exact string. However, you don’t have to wait until the sender sends a follow-up email to unarchive it. You can access the archived email and unarchive it with the steps below.

Method 1: Unarchive an Email on a Computer

You can unarchive an email through the All Mail folder or the search bar. The search bar folder is best used if you remember the subject of the email you want to unarchive or another keyword in the email. 

#1. Through the All Mail Folder

Step 1: Open and click more on the left panel

Click more.

Select more below to expand the Gmail menu

Step 2: Select All Mail in the menu 

Click  All Mail.

Click All Mail to access all emails regardless of their folder.

Step 3: Select the emails to unarchive

Check the box to the right of the sender’s name.

Scroll through the emails and click on the box in front of the sender’s name to select the one you want to unarchive.

**Step 4: Right-click to open a menu (GOOD)**

Right-click to open a menu.

Open a menu with functions you can perform on the email by right-clicking on the email.

Step 5: Select move to restore the email 

Tap move to on the left side.

Click Move To will open a list of options to which you can send the email.

Step 6: Select inbox to unarchive the email*****

Tap Inbox to move the email to the inbox. 

You can also use a shortcut to move the email back to your inbox by clicking on the move to inbox icon on Gmail’s top icon after selecting the email.

Tap the Move To icon at the top menu. 

You will now have successfully unarchived the email and sent it back to your inbox. The email will take a position based on the date it was sent. 

Step 1: Open the search bar and find the email

Enter the sender’s name in the search bar. 

You can search for the sender’s name or any other detail you remember about the email. 

Step 2: Open the email

Locate the email you want to unarchive.

Look for the email you wish to unarchive in the search results.

Step 3: Select the move to inbox icon at the top panel 

The email will unarchive and move back to the inbox. 

After the email opens, click the move to inbox icon at the top menu to send the email back to the inbox.

Method 2: Unarchive Email on your Phone

Whether you use an iPhone or an Android phone, you can unarchive an email on your phone. Besides, you can unarchive through All Mail or the search bar. 

#1. Through All Mail

Step 1: Open the Gmail app and click the three lines at the top left to open a menu 

Open the menu.

Open the Gmail menu using the three lines at the top left corner of the screen.

Step 2: Select All Mail folder 

Click All Mail.

On the menu, scroll down to the All Mail folder to get a list of all emails.

Step 3: Select the email you want to unarchive

Tap the profile icon to select an email.

Identify the email you want to unarchive and select it by long pressing on the profile icon.

Step 4: Click the three dots at the top right corner

Get a list of options for the email.

Open the menu by clicking on the three dots at the top right to get a list of options.

Step 5: On the menu, select move to inbox 

Tap move to inbox.

You will successfully send the archived email back to the inbox.

#2. Through the Search Bar

Step 1: Open your Gmail app and click the search icon at the top right corner 

Tap the search icon.

Click on the search icon at the top right to open a field where you can search for the email.

Step 2: Enter keywords that can help you get the archived email 

Enter keywords you may remember about the email

Try using the email subject to ease the search. Otherwise, you can use any vital keyword in the email. The more specific you are in your search, the better the results. 

Step 3: Open the email 

Select the email you intend to unarchive.

You get a list of emails related to the search you made. Scroll through them and click the one you need to open it. 

Step 4: Click the three dots to open a menu

Tap the three dots at the top right corner.

Click the three dots at the top right corner of the screen to open a list of functions you can do on the email. 

Step 5: Select move to inbox

Hit Move to Inbox.

Tap Move to Inbox to send the emails currently opened to inbox. This will unarchive the email and get it back to its original folder. 

How to Stop Google from Automatically Archiving Your Emails

If you miss emails in your inbox but find them in the All Mail folder, Gmail may have automatically archived them. This happens if your auto-archive feature is on. You can turn off this feature to stop Google from auto-archiving your emails. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open your Gmail account and click the settings icon 

Open settings on your Gmail account 

Click on the settings icon at the top right corner of the screen. 

Step 2: Select see all settings 

Tap see all settings.

From the settings, click on the blue link that says see all settings to expand the list of settings. 

Step 3: Under settings, select general 

Click general.

Step 4: Scroll down to send and archive 

Scroll down and select send and archive. 

Search through the settings in the general tab until you get Send and Archive.

Step 5: Select Hide “Send & Archive” button in reply 

Hit the Hide “Send & Archive” button in reply.

With this setting, your emails will remain unarchived until you manually archive them. 

How to Stop Accidentally Archiving an Email

Accidentally archiving an email mainly happens when using a Gmail app on the phone. You can archive the email by swiping it to the left or right. If this feature is annoying, you can disable it using the following steps.

Step 1: Open Gmail and click the three lines at the top left 

Tap the three lines.

Click the three lines at the top left to get a list of options and access settings.

Step 2: Scroll down and click settings 

Open settings.

Scroll down through the list of options and click settings.

Step 3: Select general settings 

Tap general settings.

Step 4: Tap action confirmations

Select action confirmations.

Under general settings, scroll down to action confirmations, where you get a list of actions to check. 

Step 5: Check the right boxes

Check confirm before archiving your emails.

This setting will prompt you to confirm whether you want to archive an email when you swipe left or right to prevent accidental archiving. 


Gmail’s archiving feature is a fantastic tool for managing your inbox. It helps you organize your inbox by hiding the emails you don’t need now. You can revert emails to your inbox from the All Mail folder. 

Alternatively, use a keyword for the email and look for it in the search bar. Gmail automatically unarchives the email if the sender sends you an email on the exact string. 

Up next 

How to Unarchive Gmail With Photos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do archived emails clear inbox space?

Archiving emails does not clear the space they occupy. When you archive an email, you remove it from the inbox, but the email is not deleted. You must delete the email permanently if you want to clear some space.

How does accidental email archiving happen?

You accidentally archive an email if you swipe the email to the left or the right on your phone’s screen. Or, you may have accidentally clicked on archive on your computer. Gmail may also have archived the email if the automatic archiving feature is on.

Is there a shortcut for restoring archived emails?

If you just archived an email, you can unarchive it by selecting undo at the bottom left of your Gmail screen. This is available only for a few seconds after archiving. Otherwise, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z to undo the action. The Ctrl+Z action will not work if the email you want to unarchive was archived long ago.

What does the All Mail folder in Gmail hold?

The All Mail folder holds all emails sent to that account. In this folder, emails are not divided into primary, social, and updates, among other folders. Archived emails are also found here.

Why does my Gmail not have an archive folder?

If your Gmail does not have an archive folder, nothing is abnormal. Gmail does not have a folder dedicated to archived emails. Instead, you access archived emails in the All Mail folder.

Is there a difference between archiving and deleting?

There is a difference between archiving and deleting. When you archive an email, you remove it from your inbox and hide it elsewhere. This email is still within your reach if you need it. However, when you delete an email, you remove it from your email storage, and it may be impossible to recover.

How long do archived emails stay in Gmail?

There is no time limit for archiving emails in Gmail. These emails remain here until you unarchive or delete them. However, an email can get unarchived if someone replies to it under the same thread.

Can you delete archived emails?

You can delete archived emails even without unarchiving them. To do this, open All Mail and click the email you want to delete to open it. Hover over to the delete icon and click it.

Is there a limit to how many emails you can archive?

There is no limit to the total number of emails you can archive. You can even archive all your emails and have an inbox with zero emails if this helps you keep your inbox organized.

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