Gmail Archived Mail: What It Is and How to Use It

Need to save that email? Try archiving it

What to Know

  • Archive on Desktop: Select emails to archive, then choose the Archive icon, represented by a folder with a down arrow in it.
  • Archive on Android/iOS: Swipe right or left to reveal Archive option.
  • To mute messages, select the messages and go to More > Mute (desktop), or menu (three vertical dots) > Mute (Android/iOS).

Email inboxes can quickly turn into cluttered messes. While many emails are disposable, you may want to keep some of them for future reference. That's where archives come in handy. We'll tell you all about archives, as well as how to archive or mute emails using desktop, iOS, or Android devices.

What Is the Gmail Archive?

Rather than deleting an email and losing it for good, you can choose to archive it instead. As soon as a message is placed in the Gmail archive, it is removed from your inbox and tagged with the label All Mail. These messages remain in your Gmail account and can be retrieved easily at a later time, but in the meantime, they are out of sight and out of mind.

Sending a message to your Gmail archive is easy, so much so that some people mistakenly archive emails by clicking on or tapping the wrong option. Fortunately, retrieving archived messages is also very easy.

When someone replies to an archived message, it automatically returns to your inbox.  

Archiving Emails on a Desktop Computer

Follow these steps to archive messages in Gmail on a desktop computer or web browser.

  1. To archive a message on a computer, first access the Gmail interface via web browser.

  2. Select the email or emails that you want to archive by clicking on their accompanying check boxes so each of them is highlighted.

  3. Select the Archive icon at the top of the screen, represented by a folder with a down arrow inside of it.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Archive button highlighted
  4. The messages are moved and a confirmation message appears with a link labeled Undo, which reverses the change if you click on it.

Archiving Emails on an Android or iOS Device

Moving messages into your archive is even easier on smartphones or tablets when using the Gmail app. Simply swipe from right to left on a message in your inbox or other folder and it is instantly archived, assuming that your swiping settings have not been previously modified.

To validate your Gmail swiping settings beforehand, take the following steps.

Android Devices

  1. Open Gmail on your Android device.

  2. Select the menu button and choose Settings > General Settings.

  3. Select Default Notification Action.

  4. Confirm that Archive is selected.

    Screenshots of an Android phone showing Settings, General Settings, and the Archive option

iOS Devices

  1. Open the Gmail app on your iOS mobile device and tap the menu icon in the upper-left corner of your inbox.

  2. Choose Settings > Swipe actions.

    Screenshots of the Gmail app for iOS showing Settings and Swipe Actions
  3. Choose Left swipe or Right swipe, if you prefer. Both are set to Archive by default, but you may have reassigned them.

  4. Confirm that Archive is checked or check it if needed.

    Screenshots of Gmail on iOS showing the Right and Left Swipe task and the Archive option

Muting Gmail Messages on a Desktop Computer

In addition to archiving individual emails, Google offers a similar feature with one key difference. While messages are still moved to the All Mail repository when muted, they are not automatically returned to your inbox when someone replies.

To mute a message on your computer, take the following steps:

  1. Access the Gmail interface via web browser. 

  2. Select the emails that you want to mute by clicking on their accompanying check boxes so that each of them is highlighted.

  3. Select the More icon, represented by three vertically aligned dots located at the top of the screen.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the More icon highlighted
  4. When the drop-down menu appears, select Mute.

    A screenshot of Gmail's More Options menu with the Mute option highlighted
  5. A confirmation message displays, letting you know that the conversations have been muted. Select the Undo button to revert the setting.

Muting Gmail Messages on iOS or Android Devices

  1. Open the Gmail app and select the conversation you want to mute.

  2. Tap the menu icon, represented by three vertical dots located in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  3. Select Mute in the pop-up menu.

    Screenshots of the Gmail mobile app showing how to mute a conversation
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