What It Means to “Archive” in Gmail

What Archiving Means in Gmail

Wondering what will happen to your emails if you click “Archive”? Find out here what archiving email means in Gmail, how messages make it to the archive, how you can access them, and more.

First, Soak the Peel for Three Days (Maybe Four)

Do change the peel’s water every day, and keep the juice pressed from the bitter oranges refrigerated throughout. Finally, boil everything together with sugar for one of the first marmalades documented in a recipe book: Madam Eliza Cholmondeley‘s Marmelet of Oranges from 1677.

Now, to preserve emails both bitter and sweet in Gmail does take no four days or three—or any effort at all:

What It Means to “Archive” in Gmail

The Gmail archive (found in the All Mail folder) is the place where all emails gather that are

  • not deleted and
  • not marked as spam.

For handling and accessing your emails, this means two things:

  • The only ways to remove an email from the archive are deleting or marking it as spam.
  • Emails in your inbox already show up in the archive as well.

What It Means to “Archive” in Gmail: FAQ

What happens when I archive an email?

Archiving removes the Inbox label from emails in Gmail.

This means:

  • Archived messages no longer show up in your inbox
  • You can still access them using other labels (including, of course, All Mail)
  • The emails also show up in Gmail search results.

Does the Gmail archive only contain archived emails?


The All Mail folder in Gmail contains all emails (both received and sent) automatically.

How can I archive emails?

To archive emails in Gmail, you can use the web interface, a keyboard shortcut, email programs accessing Gmail and, of course, the Gmail apps for Android and iOS.

Can I undo archiving emails?

Yes, you can “unarchive” emails in Gmail easily. This will restore the messages to the Gmail Inbox.

Can I use “All Mail” as my Inbox?


New emails will automatically show up in the All Mail folder (or label), and you can use All Mail as an unfiltered inbox for your Gmail account.

(What it means to archive email in Gmail first published October 2020, last updated February 2024)

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