How To Unarchive Gmail

No matter who you are wherever in the world, emails are a consistently used method of communication, especially in a business environment, because of that it’s important to know all of the features that are available to you, so you don’t lose anything important whilst using your Gmail account.

How To Unarchive Gmail

In this article we’ll be discussing what archiving emails in Gmail is, and how you can unarchive anything easily. Let’s get started.

What Is Archiving?

Google offers two ways to get rid of emails, these are archive, and delete, and do dramatically different things, so it’s important to understand the difference here.

As you can imagine, deleting emails completely deletes them forever from your inbox, there’s no way of getting them back unless you retrieve them from the ‘deleted’ folder, which wipes after every 30 days.

But archiving emails stores them in a different location, so that you can retrieve the email back whenever you like.

This is great if there’s important information on your emails that you need to keep around, or if you’re just apprehensive about completely deleting a batch of emails.

Whilst you won’t be able to find them in your regular inbox, they’re easily retrieved, and unlike deleting emails, they won’t be deleted after a 30 day period. 

Where Do Archived Emails Go?

Once you archive emails in Gmail all archived emails will disappear from the “Inbox” folder and get moved to the “All Mail” folder, where you can access them whenever you want.

The only drawback is that they get mixed with everything else and can be challenging to find especially if you’ve got a lot of emails.

This is because Gmail doesn’t have an “archive” folder or label. But below we’ll give you a quick and easy fix to this problem.

Creating An Archive Folder

Creating some room in your ‘Inbox’ folder allows you to find critical/essential emails easier.

So, when you want to archive some emails you don’t need at the moment, you can easily archive them and view them in the “All Mail” folder.

However, since they mix with all other messages, there is a workaround to separate them from the rest. Here’s how to do it:

  • Log into your Gmail Account.
  • In the left navigation menu, scroll down and click on ‘More’
  • Scroll down once more and select ‘Create New Label’
  • Type a folder name to represent your archives, but make sure to not choose a parent folder. This step creates a folder to store your archives before you archive them so they are easy to find later.
  • In the left navigation panel, scroll down and select the folder titled ‘All Mail’. This folder/label displays every message in your account no matter where they reside.
  • Click on the select and unselect box next to each message you want to relabel/move. If you mess up, simply click it again to deselect it.
  • Click on the labels icon at the top at the top. You can’t use the ‘Move To’ option here because it deletes the emails from the “Inbox” folder.
  • In the ‘Labels’ menu, uncheck all boxes to start fresh. If there is a ‘minus’ in a box, click it twice to uncheck it. Be sure not to click on ‘Apply’ yet!
  • Check off ‘Inbox,’ then check the box for Archives or whatever you called the folder. If there is a “minus” in the folder’s box, click on it to change it to a checkmark, then click on ‘Apply when finished.
  • Gmail returns to your ‘All Mail’ folder. Each email from the previous step now shows two labels: “Inbox” and ‘Archives.’
  • Check off the boxes next to each email you want to archive, then click on the downwards arrow archive icon.
  • The emails disappear from the ‘Inbox’ folder but remain in the ‘Archives’ folder. That’s why you kept “Inbox” checked and why you used labels instead of moving them. You’ll see the labels when in the ‘All Mail’ folder.
  • In the ‘Archives’ folder, confirm that the emails get archived by hovering over each one. The “Archive icon” on the far right of each message is grayed out if archived, and it won’t show the hand when over it.

By following this process, you’ll have created an archives folder which will store every email that you choose to archive.

This is perfect as it means you won’t have to search through all of your inbox folder.

If you’re using this method make sure to use the labels method instead of selecting for items to move. Moving items directly won’t work!


You can easily unarchive these emails too by following the same process, but instead of moving them to the ‘Archives’ file, move them to the ‘Inbox’ file instead.

This will return them to the general inbox of all your emails, so do this with caution if you’ve got an email that you want to keep out. 

Final Thoughts

So there it is, if you’re someone that dislikes having hundreds and hundreds of emails but don’t want to delete them outright, then archiving is going to be your best bet.

Your emails will be stored forever, and once you create a folder for them you can easily search through your archived files at ease. 

If you’re not too interested in keeping certain emails, then deleting is a perfectly fine option too.

Just remember that after 30 days from the initial deletion, you won’t be able to get your email back.

Justin Shaw