How to Retrieve Archived Emails in Gmail

Gmail Icon

If you have a lot of unread emails in Gmail, there are two ways to manage them. You can either delete the messages or send them to the archives. The second option is better, as it helps you recover important emails later even if you don’t want to read them right now.

Deleted messages are always easy to restore, as they automatically go to the Trash folder. However, archived emails don’t go to the trash and are a little harder to recover.

This article is a step-by-step guide on how to retrieve archived emails.

Retrieve Archived Emails in Gmail Webmail

To archive an email in Gmail, you can select multiple unread/read messages and send them to the Archive as shown here. However, there is no real folder named “Archives” in Gmail. Still, you can always create labels and send the emails to one of the labeled folders.

Archiving Emails Gmail Webmail

Once you send a number of emails to the archive area, you will get an alert in the webmail window. You can undo your action at this point if you want to.

Conversations Archived Gmail Webmail

Go to the side panel and select “more” to locate a folder called “All Mail.” Once you click it, you can see all the emails that were recently archived. As you can see, any recent email which does not have the “inbox” label is an archived email.

All Mail Gmail Separation Archived Emails Other Mail

Select the multiple archived emails which you would like to see in your Gmail inbox, and click “Move to Inbox” as shown here. While this method will help you recover your archived emails, it is time-consuming to sort them from a maze of other emails in the inbox, sent, draft and other folders. Therefore, in the next section we will learn how you can neatly sort out all archived emails together for further activity.

Move Archived Emails To Inbox

How to View All Archived Emails Together in Gmail

To view all archived emails together, go to “All Mail.” Here, it is possible to use a search operator mentioned in a Gmail support ticket on this issue.

Type the following search operator in the “All mail” search box. Basically, it excludes all your messages in sent, inbox, draft, and chat.

has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

Archived Messages Search Syntax

As soon as you type the above search operator, all your archived emails can be viewed from the most recent date onward. Now, it is easier to select them and move all the emails to the inbox or other folders.

Retrieving Archived Emails Search Syntax All Mail Gmail

Retrieve Archived Emails in Gmail Mobile

Once you select the emails in a Gmail mobile app, you will see a similar Archive button where all the emails can be moved. In this case, two emails were moved to the archives.

Emails Archived Gmail Mobile

To retrieve archived emails in a Gmail mobile app, select the “All mail” folder from the side panel of your app window.

All Mail Gmail Mobile

In the next step you can see a list of archived emails which are distinct from emails marked with the “Inbox” label. You can easily select them and move to the inbox or other folders.

The search operator code which separates archived emails from the ones in the inbox should also work in the mobile window search box.

Archived Emails Highlighted Gmail Mobile


Along with labels, Gmail’s Archive feature is one of the best ways to clean up your inbox without accidentally deleting an important email. Because you can read these emails at a later time, the Archive button helps you avoid spending time on low priority messages.

Did you find any other methods to recover archived emails all at once? Do share your ideas in the comments.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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