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How To Find Your Gmail Archive

How to Find Gmail Archive

Gmail is a popular email service that is used by business professionals and individuals everywhere. Archiving is a useful email feature that allows you to store emails you no longer need away from your inbox without deleting them. This means that you still have access to them when you need them but to do that, you need to know how to find your Gmail archive.

To find your Gmail archive on your phone or tablet follow these steps:

  • Click the Gmail app to open it and use the browser app to get to Gmail.
  • Once logged in, tap the three horizontal lines (that look like a hamburger) in the top left or right of the screen. This will open the menu.
  • Within the menu, click ‘all mail’. This will show you ALL emails in your Gmail account, including those that are archived.
  • To find a specific archived mail within this list, simply use the search bar at the top of the screen to locate what you need. Search by sender name / keyword / subject title for example.
  • From here you can then click the relevant email and read it.

To find your Gmail archive on your desktop browser follow these steps:

  • Search for Gmail in your chosen browser and log into your account
  • When in Gmail and you can see your inbox, look for the ‘All Mail’ label in the left hand toolbar. Click this label to see all the emails in your Gmail account, including those you’ve archived.
  • To find a specific archived mail within this list, simply use the search bar at the top of the screen to locate what you need. Search by sender name / keyword / subject title for example.
  • From here you can then click the relevant email and read it.

If you are looking for an email that you know you haven’t deleted, but can’t find it in your inbox, it’s likely that you archived it. Using the steps above, you can easily retrieve an archived email in Gmail.

For further insight on email archiving and this feature within Gmail, read on. 

What Is Gmail?

As a free email service provider, Gmail is used by millions of people all around the world to send, receive and store emails. Originally launched in 2004, it now has over 1.5 billion active users as of 2021.

Much of its appeal revolves around its user-friendly features including helpful search tools, simple interface, customisable themes and extremely useful ability to sync up with other Google services such as Drive, Calendar, Messaging and Sheets.

For those that like to remain organised, the handy folders and view filters, combined with the ability to automatically route new emails into folders based on predefined rules, make it a handy office assistant for work or personal email management.

Gmail Archiving – What Is It?

As briefly touched on already, G’mail’s archive is the place where emails are stored when you need to get them out of your inbox, but don’t want to permanently delete them. Consider it like a ‘reference’ section of a library. Always available, but not front and centre.

When an email is archived in Gmail, it gets moved from the inbox filter to the ‘all mail’ filter. You can access it whenever you need to and it won’t be deleted unless you manually move it to the trash folder.

Read more: Email etiquette: Top 10 tips when sending work emails

Why Use Email Archiving?

Whilst some people might only ever accidentally move their emails to the archive folders, others will actively use this feature as a handy way to manage their electronic communications – which can quickly mount up!

Archiving is a useful feature when you want to keep a clutter free inbox, but don’t want to permanently delete something to get it out the way. For example, if you have read an email you might want it out of your inbox, but if it’s useful to refer to later, maybe for legal reasons, then archiving that email can be a great way to keep it around and find it easily again in the future.

Finding The Archive Area

You can get to Gmail’s archive areas by using the mobile app on your mobile device or the desktop version of Gmail on your computer or mobile device.

On mobiles;

Simply use the three line menu (that looks like a hamburger) usually located in the top right of the screen to find the ‘all mail’ option. This will then present all the emails in your email account including archived mails.

On desktops:

Using the menu on the left hand side of the screen, find the ‘all mail’ label to view all the emails in your account, including archived emails.

For both of these options, you can search for specific archived emails using key phrases entered into the search box that is available at the top of your screen.

What Archive Settings Are Available?

Customising your Gmail archive settings is the key to ensuring that you manage your archived emails in a way that is useful to you and the way you work.

Take a look at these ‘settings’ from Gmail for the best tips and a summary is below:

  • To find the settings – open Gmail in the web browser or mobile device app.
  • Click the gear icon in the top right hand corner of the screen and select ‘setting’ from the menu shown
  • From the settings menu, select ‘labels’
  • Scroll down to the ‘labels’ section to find the ‘all mail’ label and click ‘show’ to display the options available for this label.
  • From here you can choose if you show or hide the ‘all mail’ option in your email account. It also gives the option to show or hide archived messages in your search results. Simply check the relevant checkbox.
  • You also have the option to set up or disable ‘automatic archiving’ of emails in your account. To do this use the settings menu to locate the archive options and choose whether you want to automatically archive emails that have been read, or sitting for a certain amount of time in your inbox.
  • A final option available is using filters to automatically archiving incoming emails based on specific subjects, keywords, or other criteria. This option can be located in the ‘filters and blocked addresses’ tab under the settings menu. From here, click ‘create new filter’ and follow the prompts given to set the filter of your choice. When using the ‘skip the inbox (archive it)’ options, those emails that match your settings will be automatically archived without you needing to do anything.

These simple to use archive settings allow you to customise the way that you use Gmail’s handy archive feature.

Made A Mistake? Undo Your Archiving

Whether you’ve accidentally set up archiving without meaning to, or want to undo an archived email that you didn’t mean to get rid of, it’s simple to undo archive settings within Gmail.

  • Simply go to the menu on the left hand side and click ‘more’ to expand it.
  • Then click on ‘all mail’ to show all the emails in your account.
  • Locate the email you want to unarchive
  • Click on it and then select ‘move to inbox’ which is in the toolbar above the email
  • The email will then be back in your inbox and no longer archived

How Many Emails Can You Archive?

If you’re a high traffic email user, you may be worried about storage space for your archived emails but there is no need.

Google doesn’t have a specific limit on the number of emails that you can archive, but it does cap the amount of storage space available to you for each account you have. This total amount of storage gets used up across all Gmail features including email, attachments, links and other data being stored in Google Drive and Google Photos.

Since 2021, Gmail has offered 15GB of free storage space across all your Google Services, so if you are a heavy user in any of these areas, you will likely reach the free storage limit quicker than others with lower use volumes.

So, whilst we can’t give you a definitive number of how many emails you can archive, because it entirely depends on how you use your storage allocation across Google services, we can say that if you have a very large number of archived emails – it will use up more of your storage space than if you had deleted them and emptied the trash bin within Gmail regularly.

If you tend to keep archived emails – set a reminder to review them every now and again. You may find some are no longer needed and can be deleted which will free up some valuable free storage space for other things that you do want to keep.

 Is Automatic Archiving Automatic?

Like the sound of automatic email archiving? If so you might wonder if it’s set up automatically when you create a Gmail email account. Every Gmail account has the automatic archiving feature available. This means that the service archives any messages that are read, replied to or forwarded by removing them from your inbox, but keeping them in the archived area for later access.

You can also manually set this up by clicking the archive button in the toolbar about any given email or using the handy keyboard shortcut ‘E’ when the message is open on screen. This action will take the email from the inbox and make it available using the ‘all mail’ label view that we outlined above.

Archive Or Delete Emails, Which Is Best?

Some people struggle to understand the difference between archiving and deleting emails but regardless of your understanding, whether you choose to archive or delete is down to personal preference.

If you want to be able to recall emails in the future but don’t want them clogging up your inbox, then archiving is a great way to do this. Consider doing this for important transactions, legal conversations or order warranties you may need to call upon.

If you know that you will never need to read the email again – spam, newsletters, or very short replies for example, deleting the email is a safe and handy option. Deleting an email means it will be removed from your inbox, won’t be archived and moved to the trash folder. After a certain number of days, usually somewhere between 30 – 90, the trash folder will be automatically emptied. After this point, the email will be gone forever. Until that point, you will be able to restore it from the trash folder.

You can change the length of time that an email remains in your archive or trash folder within the Gmail settings.

Finding Your Email Archive, A Summary

You should now have a good understanding of the Gmail archive function including how to find your Gmail archive, what it can be used for and how to customise the archiving settings to suit your email use and preference.

To recap, if you’ve ever noticed that emails you’ve read, replied to or forwarded are automatically archived, you can easily find them again by using the ‘all mail’ label in the left hand menu of your Gmail inbox.

The search function from here allows you to locate the emails you are looking for by searching for keywords or sender names.


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