How to Unarchive Gmail Emails

by | Feb 10, 2020 | Gmail

Archived an email, wonder where it went and want it back in your inbox? Find out here how to unarchive Gmail emails and restore them to the inbox or any other label and folder.

First, 53 Million Pitchers’ Shards

lie in Rome not far from the underwhelming but busy Ostiense train station, grown over by shrubs and forming a sizable hill. For some two centuries and a half in ancient times, the Romans used the area to discard, in layers, Dressel 20 amphorae that had served their purpose of supplying them with olive oil from, typically, Southern Spain.

Now, did you think an email had served its purposed and dumped it on the sizable Gmail archive mountain range? Getting them back down and into the inbox is easy:

How to Unarchive Gmail Emails

In a Desktop Browser

Time needed: 3 minutes.

To restore an archived email in Gmail using a desktop browser and have it show up under Inbox again:

  1. Open the All Mail label in Gmail.

    Gmail keyboard shortcut: You can press g a to open All Mail quickly.

  2. Find the message you want to unarchive.

    Tip: Use the Search mail field to find the email you are looking for; archived emails are included automatically, but you can also search only the Gmail archive.

  3. Make sure the message you want to restore to the inbox is checked.

    Hint: You can check and unarchive multiple emails in one go, of course.

  4. Click the Move to Inbox button.

    Dragging and dropping: As an alternative, you can also drag and drop the selected emails onto Inbox in the left label panel.
    How to Unarchive Gmail Emails - Move to Inbox Button

Quick Tip: Restore an Email You Have Just Archived

To speedily restore an email you have just accidentally archived in Gmail using a desktop browser:

  • Click Undo in the notification that appears at the bottom of the screen or
  • press z.

In the Gmail Apps for Android and iOS

To unarchive Gmail messages using the Gmail app for iOS or Android:

  1. Tap the hamburger menu item in the Gmail app.
  2. Open the All mail folder.
  3. Now open the message you want to unarchive.
    Tip: You can also tap the avatars or initials in front of messages to select them and restore multiple emails to the inbox in one go.
  4. Open the menu using the menu button (•••).
  5. Select Move to Inbox from the context menu that has appeared.

How to Unarchive Gmail Emails Using an Email Program via IMAP

To un-archive emails if you connect to your Gmail account from an email program through IMAP:

  1. Make sure the [Gmail]/All Mail folder is accessible in IMAP.
  2. Open the [Gmail]/All Mail folder in your email program.
    Note: In some email programs, the folder may be called “Archive” or just “All Mail.”
  3. Move or copy any messages you want to unarchive to the same Gmail account’s Inbox folder.
    Note: It makes no difference whether you copy or move the messages, they will remain in the [Gmail]/All Mail folder (and All mail in Gmail on the web) either way.

How to Unarchive Gmail Emails: FAQ

Can I unarchive emails to a folder or label different from the inbox?

Yes, you can add any label (using Gmail on the web or in the Gmail app) or copy the message to any folder to have it appear in that folder or label.

An email un-archived to a folder different from the inbox will not automatically show up in the inbox.

(How to unarchive Gmail emails tested in a desktop browser, the Gmail app for iOS and an email program using IMAP; updated February 2020)