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How to unarchive an email in Gmail

How to unarchive an email in Gmail

6
min read

Many professionals receive dozens or even hundreds of emails each day. Keeping your inbox organized is a challenge, but Gmail’s archive feature makes things easier. Archiving an email is an easy way to move it out of your inbox without deleting it. 

However, there are times when you’ll need to unarchive an email to restart a conversation. This is particularly important if you’re managing hundreds of different contacts as part of your business. 

When an old lead or customer re-starts the conversation, you need to be able to pick right back up where you left off. Unarchiving your emails gives you access to all of your conversations when you need them. Here’s how to unarchive Gmail messages. We’ll cover:

<a href="#what-is-archived" class="anchor-link">What is an archived email?</a>
<a href="#how-to-archive" class="anchor-link">How to archive an email</a>
<a href="#how-to-unarchive-desktop" class="anchor-link">How to unarchive an email on a desktop browser</a>
<a href="#how-to-unarchive-mobile" class="anchor-link">How to unarchive an email on the mobile Gmail app</a>
<a href="#streak" class="anchor-link">How to use Streak to organize email conversations automatically</a>

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div  id="what-is-archived" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

What is an archived email? 

Archiving your emails provides an alternative to deleting them. While deleted emails are removed from your inbox forever, archived emails are easy to recover. 

The Gmail Mail menu with the "All Mail" option highlighted.

Gmail places archived messages in a category called “All Mail”. This way, users can still find and reply to archived messages later on. 

If someone replies to a message that you’ve archived, it will be automatically unarchived and moved back to your inbox. If you don’t want to receive any replies to your archived emails, you’ll need to mute them. 

By archiving your emails, you’ll keep your inbox clean and organized for more efficient communication. However, you won’t have to worry about losing important email records if you need them later on. 

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div  id="how-to-archive" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to archive an email

The process of archiving an email in the Gmail app is very straightforward, and you can archive an email from a few different locations in Gmail. 

Gmail Archive email icon
Gmail Archive email icon

Just look for the archive icon, which looks like a folder with an arrow pointing downwards. Here are all the places you can archive an email in Gmail:

Archive an email from your Gmail inbox view

You can archive emails in your Gmail inbox. This gives you the option to archive an email without opening it first, or without opening it again. 

A view of 2 emails in the Gmail inbox and the archive icon highlighted


  1. Go to your Gmail inbox.
  2. Hover over the email that you want to archive.
  3. Click the Archive icon to the right of the email subject line.

Archive emails in bulk from your Gmail inbox

You can archive emails in bulk if you’re doing some inbox cleanup or aiming for inbox zero. 

boxes checked in a gmail inbox and the archive button highlighted
  1. Go to your Gmail inbox.
  2. Mark the check box next to each email you want to archive.
  3. Click the Archive button at the top of your Gmail inbox.

Archive emails from the thread view

If you’ve opened an email and are currently viewing the email thread, you can archive the email with the archive icon at the top of the email thread. 

an email thread with the archive button highlighted
  1. Open the email thread that you want to archive. 
  2. Click the Archive button at the top of the email thread. This will take you back to your inbox view. 

Archive emails using Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts

Looking for an even faster way to speed through your inbox organization? Meet Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts. 

a menu of Gmail email shortcuts with the Archive shortcut (the e key) highlighted.

With a single keystroke, you can send an email to the archive bin. Before you get started, make sure Keyboard shortcuts are enabled in your Gmail settings

To archive an email using keyboard shortcuts from the email thread:

  1. Open the email you want to archive.
  2. Type the letter “e” on your keyboard.

To archive emails from the inbox view:

  1. Go to your Gmail inbox.
  2. Mark the check box for the email(s) you want to archive.
  3. Type the letter “e” on your keyboard.

To find more keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, type a question mark (shift+?) anywhere in Gmail.

Archive an email from the Gmail mobile app

If you’re sending emails and managing your inbox on the go, you can keep everything organized from the mobile Gmail app.

A screenshot of an email in the Gmail iOS app. The archive button at the top of the email is highlighted.

To archive and email thread on your mobile Gmail app:

  1. Open the email you want to archive.
  2. Tap the archive button at the top of the email thread.
a screenshot of the Gmail app on an iPhone. an email is being swiped to the right, revealing an archive icon

To archive an email from your Gmail inbox on the mobile app: 

  1. Tap and hold the email you want to archive.
  2. Slide to the right until you see the green Archive option and release. 

You’ll need to make sure your “Mail swipe settings” are configured for this action within your Gmail mobile app. Head to your Gmail settings in the mobile app to set this up.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div  id="how-to-unarchive-desktop" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to unarchive an email on a desktop computer

Your archived emails exist in the All Mail folder in Gmail. You can also find them by searching for a recipient’s name or email address, a subject line, or another keyword in the email.

The Gmail Mail menu with the "All Mail" option highlighted.

The All Mail folder contains all of the emails you’ve archived in addition to your email drafts, sent mail, and emails currently in your inbox. You’ll see an “Inbox” label for emails that are already in your inbox and have not been archived.

Gmail's Move to Inbox icon
Gmail's Move to Inbox icon

The act of unarchiving an email in Gmail moves it back into your Gmail inbox. You'll use the "Move to Inbox" button to do this.

Unarchive emails from Gmail “All Mail” folder

Similar to bulk archiving emails, you can bulk unarchive an email or move emails to your inbox without opening the email thread.

An email selected from the All Mail folder. The Move to Inbox button at the top of the folder is higlighted.


  1. Go to the All Mail folder in Gmail or search for the archived email.
  2. Mark the check box next to the email(s) you want to unarchive.
  3. Click the Move to Inbox button at the top of the All Mail folder.

Unarchive an email thread in Gmail

If you want to review the email thread first, you can view an individual email in your All Mail folder and unarchive it by moving it to your inbox. 

An email thread in Gmail. The Move to Inbox button at the top of the email is highlighted.
  1. Go to the All Mail folder in Gmail or search for the archived email.
  2. Open the email thread.
  3. Click the Move to Inbox button at the top of the email thread.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div  id="how-to-unarchive-mobile" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

How to unarchive an email on the Gmail mobile app

As with the desktop app, archived emails will show up in searches in the Gmail app, as well as in the All Mail folder. Tap the three lines at the top left of the app to open the menu.

a Gmail mail menu with the "All Mail" option highlighted

If you can remember a subject line, recipient, or other keyword to find the email, searching for it is typically the quickest way to find an archived email.

A screenshot of an email in the Gmail mobile app. The actions menu is open and the Move to Inbox option is highlighted.

To unarchive an email from the Gmail mobile app:

  1. Open the email you want to unarchive.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner.
  3. Select the Move to Inbox option.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div  id="streak" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Use Streak to organize emails

Archiving emails is one way to keep them “safe” in your Gmail inbox, but it lumps them into one giant folder with your drafts, sent messages, and emails that are currently in your inbox. This can make it a nightmare to find archived emails when you need them. 

Streak makes it easy to organize your emails by contact, deal, or workflow. 

Two emails in a Gmail inbox with Streak inbox labels.

With Streak, you can organize emails for contacts in your Sales, Hiring, Fundraising, or pipelines for any other workflow

Once you add an email to Streak, you can safely archive the message and still find it in your pipelines if you need to refer to it later.

Best of all, you can tell Streak to automatically add all emails with a contact or organization to the right pipelines. Any time a contact emails you, Streak will automatically add it to the relevant box in your pipeline and label it in your inbox. 

Try Streak for free to automate your inbox organization and never lose track of an important email again.

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