How to Retrieve Archived Emails in Gmail

Did you lose an important message? It might be archived

What to Know

  • The Google Gmail service stores messages in an archive for future viewing, and it's easy to restore these messages to the Inbox.
  • To view the emails that are archived, access the All Mail label. From there, you can put archived Gmail messages back in your Inbox to use them.

This article explains how to access archived emails from a browser and the Gmail mobile app.

How to Retrieve Archived Emails in a Browser

Although archived messages are removed from your Inbox, these messages are still stored in your Gmail account and can be retrieved in a few steps. These messages also remain indexed and appear when you search for Gmail messages.

Open archived emails on a computer, tablet, or phone. Emails can be viewed while archived, but if you plan to continue the conversation, move the messages in the conversation to the Inbox.

  1. In a web browser, go to Gmail, then hover over the navigation icons at the left of the screen to open the navigation panel.

    Gmail inbox with the navigation panel highlighted
  2. In the navigation panel, select More to display additional options.

    Gmail navigation panel with the More option highlighted
  3. Select All Mail.

    Gmail navigation panel with the All Mail option highlighted
  4. Select the emails you want to return to the Inbox. The emails that are in the Inbox are labeled Inbox in front of the subject line.

    Check boxes in front of emails to return to Inbox in Gmail
  5. In the main toolbar above the emails, select Move to Inbox.

    Gmail with the Move to Inbox button highlighted
  6. A confirmation appears that verifies the emails have been moved to the Inbox. Select Undo to reverse the process.

    Gmail confirmation dialogue box with the Undo button highlighted

Retrieve Archived Emails Using the Mobile App

To find the All Mail option on the mobile Gmail app, tap the message and open the menu button located in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  1. Open the Gmail app on your mobile device to view the Inbox.

  2. Tap the three-line icon at the top of the screen and select All Mail in the panel that opens.

  3. Tap the email you want to retrieve.

    Gmail app with the All Mail command highlighted
  4. Select the 3-dot icon at the top of the email that opens.

  5. Tap Move to Inbox

    An email in the Gmail app with the More icon and Move to Inbox button highlighted

Tips to Avoid Accidental Archiving

It's can be easy to accidentally archive a message. Avoid this by taking the following precautions:

  • On a smartphone or tablet, take your time when scrolling through messages and don't make any sudden swiping motions from right to left.
  • The archive swipe motion can be changed in the app settings. Go to General settings > Swipe actions.
  • Watch for any confirmation messages stating that a conversation has been archived. This message is usually paired with an Undo button that you can use if necessary.