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If you have a busy and complicated inbox, then often it can be useful to archive old emails rather than delete them or store them under labels. This allows you to access them when you really need them, without cluttering your dashboard.

Luckily, Gmail makes it just as easy to retrieve archived emails as it does to archive them in the first place.

Why you might need to retrieve archived emails

It’s good email management to archive emails you don’t need currently, but that you don’t want to delete forever.

Maybe you’ve completed a project, it’s all signed off, and you’re ready to relieve your inbox of the hundreds of emails associated with it. But there’s every chance you may need to refer to some of those emails in the future, so permanently deleting them would be a bad idea.

Locating your archived emails

When you archive your messages, technically you’re removing them from your inbox. However, they’re still kept in your Gmail account.

Your archived emails aren’t kept in a folder like your “trash” or “important” folders; instead, they’re found in All mail.

On your desktop, scroll through the left-hand menu of your Gmail dashboard to find All mail (you may need to click on More if you have lots of folders).

When you select All mail, the emails in all your folders, your trash, and those you’ve archived, will all be shown.

To access your archived emails in your Gmail app on your tablet or smartphone, navigate to and click on the three lines next to the search bar.

Scroll down the menu and click All mail.

Locating specific archived emails

Once you’re able to view All mail, you can now use the search bar to narrow your search to find a specific email.

Either type in the email address of the recipient whose email you want to locate, or click on the arrow to the right of the search bar to carry out an advanced search.

How to retrieve your archived emails in your browser

Retrieving your archived emails simply means placing them back in your inbox.

To do this, go to All mail as shown above:

  • Select the email or emails you want to retrieve back to your inbox. Emails that are already in your inbox are marked Inbox.

  • Click the Move to inbox icon in the top menu.

  • You’ll then see a pop-up to confirm that your email is being sent to your inbox. You also get a chance to Undo this command.

How to retrieve your archived emails on your mobile app

On the mobile or tablet app, locate All mail, and select the email you want to retrieve.

  • In the email, click on the three dots at the top right of the message.

  • In the menu, click on Move to inbox.

  • Again, you’ll see a confirmation pop-up which gives you the opportunity to Undo the command.

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