What’s The Use of Archive in Gmail and Where Does Email Go

I am using Gmail for more than 5 years now but never really cared about a feature called ‘Archive’ in Gmail. But today, I accidentally pressed Archive selecting one of the email and it vanished from Inbox. “Where does it go?”. This question led to research about it and hence this article.

I guess it is the most unused button and many of you still wonder- What does it do and where does email go after Archiving or How to get it back. Before that, let’s understand the use of Archive in email.

Use of Archive in Gmail

There are emails which you don’t want to see in Inbox but don’t even want to delete. Or simply, you want to keep it safe because you think you will need it in future say after a year or two. This is the function of Archive. It helps you keep Inbox clutter free from not-so-important messages.

Where does these Emails Go

When you archive an email, it skips Inbox and moves to All Mails. All Mail is your archive, a storage place for all the mail you’ve ever sent or received, but have not deleted.

To find those emails, just use the search box with keyword in email or enter the sender/recipient’s name/email ID.

You may also access “All Mail” Label from left sidebar to see them.

all emails gmail

What if there is a Reply to Archived Conversation

When someone responds to a message you’ve archived, the conversation containing that message will reappear in your inbox. So, don’t worry email won’t go unnoticed.

Difference between Trash and Archive

When you delete an email message, it is moved to Trash. Messages in Trash gets deleted automatically forever after 30 days.

However, Archiving is for safe-keeping. It keeps your email safe in email account and still keeps out of inbox.

If you are sure that you won’t need a message in future, delete it. But, If it’s possible that you’ll need a message or conversation in the future, archiving is recommend.

Personal Thoughts

After learning about it, I still don’t find this feature any useful. Not that I don’t like being tidy but I don’t mind keeping those emails in Inbox. Reason is I use Inbox view as “Unread First” where “Read” mails are shown under “Everything else” section which I keep closed always. So, I never find inbox cluttered.

unread first gmail

Archive feature has been there from a long time in Email and maybe that’s the reason Gmail continued the tradition. What do you think about it?

via Gmail

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
Ajay - November 23, 2012

If you’ve tagged your email with labels, Archive will just take off the Inbox label while retaining the rest.

Akshat - November 24, 2012

Really Never knew that before. thanks for letting us know..

rakesh - November 25, 2012

Even i don’t about this feature while using it for the last 6 years. Gmail is mysterious.

williamansour - July 4, 2013

Last week when I am checking mails suddenly I clicked on Archive option, mail was disappeared at that time I don’t know how to get that mail. Today you have given me a solution,Thank you for sharing.


Leave a Reply: