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

Need to save that email? Try archiving it

Gmail archived mail

Getty Images

In a world of seemingly endless emails, many of us send and receive a ton of emails every day. Whether for professional or personal purposes, those emails quickly turn inboxes into cluttered repositories of disarray.

While many emails are disposable, you may want to keep some of them for future reference. No matter the motive, storing everything in your inbox becomes problematic for a number of reasons.

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.

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

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 for them, retrieving archived messages is almost as easy as archiving them in the first place.

Archiving Emails on a Computer

  1. To archive a message on a computer, first access the Gmail interface via your preferred 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. Click the Archive icon at the top of the screen, represented by a folder with a down arrow in the foreground.

    Selecting messages for archiving
  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 steps below.

For Android Devices

  1. Tap the menu button on your Android mobile device and select Settings.

  2. Choose General Settings.

  3. Select Gmail default action.

  4. Confirm that Archive is selected.

For iOS Devices

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

  2. Choose Settings.

  3. Select Swipe actions.

    Setting swipe actions in Gmail
  4. Choose Left swipe or Right swipe, if you prefer. Both are set to Archive by default, but you may have reassigned them.

    Setting Left swipe to Archive
  5. Confirm that Archive is checked or check it if needed.

Muting Gmail Messages on a 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 your preferred 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. Click the More icon, three vertically aligned dots located at the top of the screen.

  4. When the drop-down menu appears, select Mute.

    Muting Gmail in a browser
  5. A confirmation message displays, letting you know that the conversations have been muted. Click the Undo button to revert this 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, three vertical dots located in the upper right corner of the screen.

  3. Select Mute in the pop-up menu.

    Muting Gmail with mobile app