HOW TO FIND ARCHIVED EMAILS IN GMAIL

This is how you easily find archived emails in gmail

When I switched from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail, one of the first questions I had was about finding my archived emails in Gmail, because I could not find a label called archived emails.

So I did a bit of research and found out some interesting things Gmail do with archived emails.

So How to find archived emails in gmail? 

Archived emails disappear from your Gmail Inbox and stay forever in All Mails label until you manually delete them. These archived emails can be easily found under “All Mails” label in Gmail. You can also use Gmail filters to easily find specific archived emails.

To find your archived emails, first click on “More” link in the left hand navigation of your Gmail as shown below (it works for both personal Gmail and Google Workspace subscription)

1. Click on more in Gmail

Here you will see a label called “All Mail”, click on it to see all your emails including the ones you archived.

2. Click on All Mail label to see all your archived emails

Use Gmail filter to find specific archived emails

Now you already know that you can go to All Mail label and find your archived emails there, but what if you want to find a specific email from someone that you archived?

You can use “in:all” filter which will show you all the emails including archived ones, You can also add more criteria to this filter to find specific archived emails.

For e.g If I want to find an archived email which was sent to me from Microsoft and had an attachment, I can use filter like

in:all from:microsoft.com has:attachment

It will show me all such emails as shown in the screenshot below.

5. Find specific archived emails with Gmail filter

How to find archived emails in Gmail on Android

To see archived emails on your Android device —> open your Gmail app —> click on the hamburger icon on top left, and then click on All Mail label.

Here you will see all archived emails as shown in the screenshot below.

Easily find Gmail archived emails on Android

Gmail Email Archiving Functionality

Email archiving functionality in Gmail is indeed very thoughtful work by Google, it would be helpful to understand how does gmail archive folder work so you can easily use it for your advantage.

I am sure you would like to keep your Gmail inbox as clean as possible, but we all get hundreds of email now a days, you can of course delete the emails that are of no value to you, but what about emails that are not relevant today, but might be in the future?

Thats where you can use Gmail’s email archiving functionality, as soon as you archive an email, it disappears from your Inbox and goes to All Mail label. It helps keeping our Inbox clean without losing or deleting the email that we might need in the future.

Delete vs Archive Emails - When should you use them?

To understand when should you archive vs delete emails, you should first understand the fundamental differences between them.

Feature Delete Email Archive Email
Default Behavior When you delete an email in Gmail, it goes to your Trash label. When you archive an email in Gmail, it essentially remove the inbox label from that email which makes it disappear from Inbox, and land in All Mail label.
Email Retention Deleted Emails are retained in Trash label for 30 days, after 30 days they are deleted permanently and can not be recovered.

You have an option to manually empty your Trash label anytime which will delete those trashed emails permanently.
Archived Emails are retained forever in your All Mails label unless you either manually select and delete them OR delete them automatically by creating a Gmail filter.
Gmail filter to find You can use in:Trash filter to see all of your deleted emails. You can use in:all filter to view all archived emails (now essentially it includes all emails not just archived ones,

However, you can use other filter criteria to find specific archived email as shown above).
Bulk Operation Yes, you can bulk delete either all or specific emails. Yes, you can bulk archive either all or specific emails.

Recommendation :
As Gmail offers enough storage to keep thousands of emails, I would recommend you to delete emails only when you are sure you won’t need them in future. If you are dicy, then it’s better to archive them.

Archive your Gmail emails with ease

You can archive the emails that you do not want to see in your inbox for now by simply selecting them and then clicking on archive button as shown in below screenshot.

3. Select all required emails and click on Archive to archive them

You can also use search bar to archive specific emails (for e.g if I want to archive all emails which I got from AppSheet, I can use a filter like following and then select to archive these emails.

4. Archive selective Gmail emails using filters

However, there might be scenarios where you do not want some specific emails to appear in your Inbox, rather should be archived straight away.

For e.g : I want email notifications from apps-scripts-notifications@google.com should be archived automatically. I can use Gmail filter for this as shown below.

1. I can put my criteria in Gmail filter to search for emails that I want to be automatically archived (in my case this criteria will be from:apps-scripts-notifications@google.com).

6. Create a Gmail filter to archive emails

As shown in the screenshot below, you should :
1. Select the Inbox (Archive it).
2. Also select Also apply filter to xx matching conversations to archive existing emails that match my criteria.
3. Create a filter 

Now all my future emails that match this criteria would be archived automatically without a need for me to manually select and archive them.

7. Select existing conversations too if you want to archive them

How to delete archived emails?

Finally, in case if you need to delete your archived emails, you can simply go to All Mail label, select the emails you want to delete, and then delete them by clicking the delete button in the menu bar as shown in the screenshot below.

You can also delete specific archived emails easily by using the Gmail filter.

delete archived emails in gmail

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23 thoughts on “How to find archived emails in gmail?”

  1. The archive “feature” was in no way thoughtfully implemented by Google engineers are you assert. This is the most inconvenient and unhelpful “feature” I’ve come across in my 30 years in IT. Let me start by pointing out that archiving is configured by default for swiping left or right in the Android app. There is no prompt asking if that’s what you really want to do. It just does it by default… And there’s literally no way to find those archived emails again. Unless, that is, you’re Rain Man and have a solid photographic memory of every email that’s EVER come into your inbox and can identify the messages you accidently swiped on. Again, this isn’t a convenient user-friendly feature meant to enhance the user experience.

    I’ve been using Gmail for more than a decade. I literally have thousands upon thousands of emails. Why is there not an easier method of viewing ONLY the archived messages? Clicking on “All Mail” shows everything. How is that helpful in my case? Using the search “has:nouserlabels” provides zero help as it still shows all emails with the Inbox label set. Again, there’s absolutely no way to find these emails that I accidentally swiped on over the years.

    For as much as I love Google and the Android platform, they create some ridiculously stupid “features” that make me want to start considering other platforms (i.e. Apple).

    1. I am running into the same problem. I just got off the Google support chat. The tech did not know the archived emails were in All Mail. He asked me to go to mail.google.com. I clicked his link and it took me there, but closed the chat window. I Google missing archive folder on Android. That is when I found out about them being in All Mail with no way to filter them. Going back to Outlook to see if that works.

    2. I erroneously did exactly as you described and archived a tracking number. So I come here to find out why no “archived” folder and see the All Mail less than intuitive work around. OK, at least I can find it but now this same help page says they stay FOREVER in “ALL” leading me to believe additional clicks is normal to get an email that should be right in front with no clicks required. Fortunately, one can drag it back to inbox. Like you I dislike fighting improvements that cause duress and kill productivity. Changing what a swipe does imagine that….

  2. I have over 15,000 Gmails in “All Mail”. About 13,000 of these were inadvertently “archived” over many years, when I really intended to “delete” them. (During those years I was totally unaware of the right-and-left swipe settings that apparently default to “archive”.)

    So…is it true that there’s NO WAY to select ONLY my archived emails and delete them in bulk? Does Google really expect a user like me to select and delete 13,000 archived Gmails individually?

    If so, this is something that Google has got to fix. How do I bring it to their attention?

    1. From my experience, and after reading Metric Sh#t Tons (that means “very, very many”) of angry posts by Users, I conclude that Google customarily deflects questions and complaints about bugs with useless advice and denials of serious defects. Too bad. Because, when they work, their products are Stellar! So grievously dissppointed. Heartbroken; since I was a diehard Applehead for 42 years, my growing discontent with them since Jobs’ departure was cinched by my intense excitement over the upcoming Pixel 6 Pro and symbiotic Google environment. But: no dice.

  3. Gmail sux! Who would find these stupid labels useful? Give me folders. I thought it was deleting like every other program. Now there is absolutely no option for seeing all archived emails and ONLY archived ones. As soon as I forward important messages, I am done with this garbage.

  4. Thank you very much. I couldn’t find an email I received yesterday, so I thought I accidentally archived it. I found it using “in:all”. Thanks

  5. 1000% AGREE. This article has to have been written by someone who is paid by Google. The archive feature is NOT thoughtful or helpful and is in fact the bain of EVERY SINGLE Google user who has accidentally used it because Google has very UNhelpfully placed the icon as the first icon and you cant move it AND they have automatically set the swipe feature to archive files thus rendering them totally unfinable EVER. If they used a Label to mark the email as ARCHIVED so that you could search for them that would be fine. If they left the ARCHIVE label as an item in your label tree so that you could see the “lets call it what it is… LOST” email that would be fine but all they have done is hidden the email away from you in the All Mail section with no way to differentiate it from the other 10000000’s of emails that are in there. This is the DUMBEST piece of coding since Y2K

    1. I won’t comment on whether this feature is useful or not, but this article or in fact anything on this website till today is not sponsored by anyone, I only publish/share my knowledge/understanding.

  6. Morgan in Austin

    Nobody wants to look at “all mail”.
    What we want is to see “all archived messages. ONLY archived messages”.
    How to do this seems to be a great secret. Any idea?

  7. If I right-swipe an email in my inbox it says it’s archived. If I look in all mail, is there a marker against archived emails or do I have to know what I want to see specifically?

    1. Nope Jim it has been banished to the LOST IN YOUR ALL EMAIL folder with no distinguishing feature so that you can hunt it down. IF you know what the title of the email is you can follow the directions in this PAID commentary and self congratulatory blog post to perhaps find it in the giant pile of emails that are in your ALL EMAILS label but there is no label or marker or notations that will lead you to the emails that you have accidentally “archived” (ie lost). I would highly recommend changing the swipe functions on your devices so you reduce the chance of using Google’s “Lose your email” function and wish you luck in finding that which Google has helped you to lose….

  8. This does not help at all. If you want to delete all the emails that had been archived, this does not provide you with “archived” label or folder or tag so that you can delete all such emails.

    I have been archiving instead of deleting by mistake because of some crazy default setting and now have to go re-select what I want to delete? Please, tell me I’m wrong.

    Horrible!

    1. hello,

      you will have to go in ALL Mail and then pick/search/filter to select and DELETE emails you want NO Longer want else they will lay and eat space in your archive folder. yes, that’s what you will have to do on some long weekend 😐

      BTW on the mobile Gmail App, you can change the default action from “Archive” to something else like “Delete”.

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  12. G mail Admin
    In your statement on internet in words ,we did sent e mail to other adresses or delete by accident ,…..

    Admin!!!!!????? Archive means store it ,not delete it ???
    If archive ,……it mustbe in all mail ????? Right ????

    What hapend to the other e mails whick i never touched because its there for exchibits

    The fact is ,…..Gmail give me that security on archiving e mail i dont want to loose ….

    This is crucial G mail Admin ,……Court case is on hands

    Please refer back to me ,…..?

    1. That is right, if you archive, it goes to your All Mails labels, I don’t know why you aren’t seeing them there, not sure if you have any rule to delete them, check with Google support.

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