People, by nature, have a certain dose of fear of deleting things on their computer. This is why the Recycle Bin exists, just so you make sure that you have your deleted items stored somewhere until you empty the bin. Gmail has brought a similar feature to its service years ago. It allows you to store your messages in an archive, to view them later or just to be safe. Although you can always restore your archived emails to the inbox, finding the archive may not be so apparent.
Archiving a message is simple and can be very useful for keeping your inbox clear and uncluttered. On your computer, simply find the email that you want to archive and click on the Archive icon that appears only when you hover over the email. On the mobile phone, all you need to do is swipe to the right/left, depending on your settings.
However, accidental archiving happens from time to time, usually on the mobile Gmail app. The app allows you a short time period to undo this (undo command in the bottom right corner of the screen), but if you miss it, your message will be archived. Be careful when scrolling through your emails and don’t make any sudden left/right swipes.
A great way to make sure that you don’t accidentally archive an email is to change what the swipe motion does. On your mobile device, open the Gmail app, go to General settings -> Swipe actions and select from the offered options. You can disable them completely by selecting the None option.
Of course, sometimes, the damage is already done. At other times, you simply want to check out your archived mail list, for whatever reason. The good thing here is that all of the messages that you’ve archived remain indexed. This means that they will appear if you search them in the Search mail bar. It’s also great that you can open these archived messages, unlike the files in your Recycle Bin.
Bear in mind, however, that if you want to continue the conversation in question, you are best off restoring the email to your inbox before continuing.
Retrieving Archived Emails Using Your Browser
If you want to retrieve an archived email from your browser, it is recommended that you do this from your computer, rather than the phone or tablet. First, open Gmail in your browser by typing “Gmail” on any search engine, or by simply going to Google’s main page and finding the Gmail link in the upper right corner. Sign in if you aren’t already signed in.
Go to the icons at the left of the screen and this will open the navigation panel. Scroll past the Inbox, Sent, Drafts, and other categories until you see the More option. Click on it and this will show even more navigation icons. Find All Mail and click it. The interesting part here is that what you now see is what Gmail looked like in the beginning – all emails in a single spot.
The emails that are currently in your inbox have Inbox label in front of the email subject. Those that aren’t labeled Inbox or Updates and such are your archived emails. Select all entries that you want to return to the inbox by clicking the checkbox to their far left. In the upper toolbar that appears when you select the first item, click on the Move to Inbox icon.
Retrieving Archived Emails Using Your Phone App
Restoring/accessing the archived mail on your Gmail phone app is a similar process to the one we described above. First, open your Gmail app. In the app, you’ll find a three-line icon in the top left corner of the screen. Tap on it and scroll and tap on the All Mail tab. You will then see a list of all items in your Inbox, Sent, Snoozed, Important, and other folders.
Select the emails that you want to restore to Inbox by clicking their respective icons to the left of each one. In the top right corner of the screen, there is a three-dot icon. Tap on it and tap Move to Inbox. This will automatically send the selected emails to your Inbox.
It is always preferable to make sure that your inbox is well-organized. Make sure that you avoid archiving messages that aren’t completely resolved. You may be able to access them now, but it still may cause problems for you.
What do you use to stay organized in Gmail? What messages do you archive? Share your opinion in the comments below.