How to View Archived Gmail Emails

by | Aug 20, 2019 | Gmail

Looking for the emails you archived? Find out here how to view archived Gmail emails—in a browser, in the Gmail apps, or in an email program.

First, He Read, He Inquired, and He Believed

Says Edward Gibbon in one of his famous footnotes about Jean Froissart, whose Chronicles about the Hundred Years’ War between Britain and France he incorporated with gusto into The Decline and Fall:

I should not complain of the labor of this work, if my materials were always […] books as the chronicles of honest Froissard, who read little, inquired much, and believed all.

Now, want to inquire not only into email currently in your inbox but archived Gmail as well? Read just a little more on this page; believe me!

How to View Archived Gmail Emails

View All Archived Emails

To see see all (and only) archived emails in Gmail:

  1. Open Gmail in a browser or the Gmail apps for Android and iOS.
  2. Click Search mail.
  3. Type -label:inbox.
  4. Press Enter.

See All (Including Archived) Emails

To quickly view archived Gmail emails together with those still your inbox:

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Go to the All Mail label.
    • Gmail keyboard shortcut: Press g a to open the All Mail folder quickly.
    • Tip: If you do not see the All Mail label or folder in Gmail’s left navigation panel, click More in that panel. You can drag and drop the All Mail label to the top of the labels list to permanently unhide it.

You can also access archived Gmail messages by searching for them, of course:

  1. Click Search mail or press /.
  2. Type an email address or terms for which you want to view archived emails.
    • Note: Gmail will automatically include all archived emails in search results.
    • Tip: To limit results to only archived emails, add -label:inbox to the search terms.
    • Example: Type “older_than:3y -label:inbox” to view all archived Gmail emails older than three years, for instance.Type any email address or message content to find the corresponding emails in the Gmail archive.
  3. Press Enter.

How to View All (Including Archived) Gmail Emails using an Email Program

To access, view and find archived Gmail emails if you connect to your account via IMAP using an email program:

  1. Make sure the All Mail label is set to be visible in IMAP.
  2. Open the [Gmail]/All Mail folder in your email program.
    • Note: Some email programs list this folder under a different name, typically “Archive” or “All Mail”.
  3. Find in this folder all received emails including those archived in Gmail.
    • Note: You can limit Gmail to only show a certain number of emails in IMAP per folder using the IMAP Folder Size Limit; this also applies to the [Gmail]/All Mail folder.

How to View Archived Gmail Emails: FAQ

Can I restore emails to the inbox after I have found them in the Gmail archive?

Yes, you can unarchive Gmail emails in a few simple steps, no matter how you access your account.

(How to view archived Gmail emails tested with a desktop browser, the Gmail app for iOS and an IMAP email program; updated January 2019)