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How to Unarchive Emails on Gmail


A lot of professionals get hundreds or even thousands of emails every day. Thus, it can be challenging to keep your inbox organized, but Gmail’s archive feature makes it easy to remove an email from your inbox without deleting it. But sometimes, you will need to unarchive the archived emails to resume necessary conversations. So, in this article, I will explain how to unarchive emails on Gmail in your browser and Android phone.

How to Unarchive Emails on Gmail

Where do the archived emails go?

Messages that Gmail has archived are categorized under All Mail. This allows users to locate and respond to messages that have been archived whenever necessary. If someone replies to a mail that you archived, the mail you have archived will automatically be unarchived and returned to your inbox. You can mute your archived emails if you wish to stop receiving replies.

How to Unarchive Emails on Gmail

There is no direct unarchive button that you can use to unarchive emails, but you can use the three methods given below to find the archived emails hiding in the All Mail folder in your Gmail.

  1. Use the Gmail Search Bar
  2. Use the All Mail option

1] Use the Gmail search bar

The easiest way to find the archived email is to use the search bar at the top of your Gmail window.

  • Open your Gmail account, type in:all or in all into the Gmail search bar, and press the Enter key. This will list all the emails, including the archived emails.

Use In All Command To Find Archived Mails on Gmail

  • If you need to find the recently archived mail, search for mail without the label Inbox. All the mails with the label Inbox are the unarchived mails and those without the Inbox label are the archived ones.
  • You can also use keywords of the mail you archived to find the mail via the Gmail search bar.

More advanced ways exist to find the emails you archived weeks or years ago. Follow the steps given below:

  • Date-based searches: Look for emails within a particular timeframe by using the ‘before:’ and ‘after:’ operators.
  • Searches based on size: find emails with attachments larger than the given size using the ‘size:’ operator.
  • Receiver-based searches: Classify emails according to the sender using the ‘from:’ operator.

So, you can search the archived emails based on the type of searches given above. You can even combine these operators to search for a specific email. For example, if you want to search for an email sent by Tom after May 2021, you can type the following operators into the Gmail search bar:

in:all from:Tom Cruise after:2021/05/01

Use Advanced Search to Find Archived Mails on Gmail

If you find it challenging to work with these operators to find the archived emails, you can use the filter options at the top of the emails in your Gmail.

2] Use the All Mail option

The in:all search operator and the Search: All Mail condition point to the exact location, that is, the All Mail folder. Unlike what most people believe, your inbox is not the only location where your emails are stored.

  • Click the hamburger menu at the top left corner of the screen. Next, click More on the left pane to expand the menu.
  • Click the All Mail tab on the left pane of your Gmail window to access all of your emails, regardless of their labels.

Choose the All Mail Option on Gmail

  • The archived emails do not have the Inbox label, and the unarchived ones do, signifying that they are still in the Primary inbox folder.

How to unarchive emails on Gmail on Android or iPhone

Now, let us look into unarchiving archived emails on Android and iPhone. The steps for both are similar, but the interface may differ. Let us move on to the steps to unarchive the emails:

  • Open your Gmail account on your Android or iPhone and click the hamburger menu at the top left corner of the screen.

Open Gmail Menu on Android

  • Choose the All mail option from the list in the Gmail menu.

Choose All Mail Option on Android Gmail

  • This will display all the mail on your Gmail account, including the archived mail.
  • You can quickly locate the archived mail by checking whether it has the Inbox label.

Find Unarchived Mails in All Mails Folder

  • Once you locate the archived mail (without the Inbox tag), click and open the mail. Next, click the three dots menu at the top right corner of the archived mail.
  • Click the Move to Inbox option from the context menu to unarchive the mail.

Move Archived Emails to Inbox Folder

  • For iPhone, there will be a direct Move to Inbox button inside the archived mail, and you can click the button to unarchive the mail.

Move Archived Emails to Inbox Folder

  • The archived mail will be unarchived and moved back to the Primary inbox folder of your Gmail account, and you will be able to find the Inbox tag next to it as well.

Archived Mail is Unrachived and Moved to Inbox

Best Method: Create Labels To Archive Emails

Labels in Gmail are an organizing feature that classifies and organizes your emails according to particular keywords. All Gmail accounts come with three labels or categories by default: Primary, Social, and Promotions.

So, you can also utilize the Create a new label option that allows you to arrange emails that you currently have and may receive in the future according to various criteria like sender, size, subject, keywords, etc. So, here is how you create a new label on Gmail to move your emails instead of archiving them:

  • Click the Create new label (+) sign next to Labels.
  • In the New label pop-up window, enter a name, for example, Archived Mails, as your new label for archived emails, and click the Create button.

Create a New Label For Archived Mails on Gmail

  • You will find the new label you created under the Labels heading at the bottom left corner of your Gmail window.
  • So, to add a mail to the Archived Mails label you created, right-click the mail you want to move and click the Label as option from the context menu. Next, click the check box next to Archived mails and click Apply. The chosen mail will be moved to the Archived mail label.

Move Archived Mails to Gmail Labels

Thus, using this technique, you can make your label that will allow you to view all of the emails you would have wanted to archive in one location without finding old or new archived mail.


Knowing where to look and how to use Gmail’s search features to your advantage can help you locate archived emails quickly. Email archiving allows you to maintain email organization while quickly accessing previous exchanges. It does not mean that you will lose emails forever.

Thus, you can use the steps outlined in this post to find archived emails when needed. You can confidently navigate Gmail’s features and ensure that your digital communications are always accessible using a professional and skillful approach.

What if I accidentally archived an email in Gmail?

To retrieve an archived email, click on the hamburger menu and scroll through the labels until you find the “All Mail” label. Once you have located the email, open it and tap on the three dots at the top right of the screen. From there, select “Move to inbox”, and the email will be instantly sent back to your inbox while the “Archive” label is removed.

Does Gmail save archived emails?

Archived messages are always accessible but only deleted emails are permanently removed, either manually or after 30 days in the Trash.

How to Unarchive Emails on Gmail

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