We mention this whenever possible, but we always recommend archiving messages in Gmail rather than deleting them. You never know when you may want to access a message again, and archiving allows you to do that while deleting does not.

The one issue with archived mail is that it is not immediately obvious how you can recover archived messages. You have a few options available to you, but there actually isn’t a way to uncover only archived mail.

First of all, you can always search for your archived mail if you have an idea of what you’re looking for. If you can’t remember exactly what was in the message, take a look at the ‘All Mail’ label in the label list on the left-hand side of your Gmail inbox.

All Mail includes any messages in your Gmail account, even those you’ve archived, so you can scroll through those messages until you find the message you’re looking for.

If you’d like to restore an archived Gmail message back into your inbox:

  1. Select the message
  2. Click the Move to Inbox button at the top of your screen

We also have a tip that might it easier to find ONLY archived messages, but it requires a little up front work. Check out the video to learn more!


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  1. James

    Thank you kindly for your help.

    This made it possible for me just now to recover an important e-mail I archived accidentally.

  2. Google Gooru

    Hi Kate – Have you tried searching for any of that mail? I’m thinking if it shows up in search but not in the archive list then maybe there’s some glitch with the Gmail interface for your account. I think it is very rare that archived mail gets lost or deleted.

    Let me know if you have any luck. If you want to send me some screenshots so I can see what you’re talking about a little better, feel free to send send over to gooru at gooruvideos dot com.

    1. KIM, Wonhee

      I tried to recover the archived mail by following your instruction. I cannot find ‘ALL MAIL”.

      I made the scrn shot but how to send to you?

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  4. Frances Macfarlane

    Not able to find any archived mail from before 17 july 2013 Please help as I am trying to find an email that was in an email

  5. robert goodof

    do have any advice on how to recover very old sprintmail emails from the 1990s? I’m looking to recover communications from relatives who have passed away.

    any ideas appreciated.

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  7. Bruce Alvarez

    This does not work for me. I checked an email in the inbox and while hovering over the archive icon, must have touched the very sensitive touch pad because there was a message saying the email was archived. However it does NOT show up in “all mail” nor does it show up in the trash. This was 10 minutes ago, on an email sent yesterday not some really old archived thing.

  8. Anamika singh

    Thanks a lot . By mistake I moved an important mail to archive and was unable to find it.But when I opened All Mail, it was there only :)

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  10. Pamela

    I am trying to access my archived emails. I watched the video which instructs to click on the All Mail button on the left side, under Drafts. I do not have an All Mail button.
    I didn’t mean to archive the emails. I thought I was moving them to a folder.
    What can I do?

    1. The Gooru

      Hi Pamela,

      Did you click on the ‘More’ drop-down to show more labels? If you can’t see the ‘All Mail’ label you first need to click ‘More’ to display all the labels.

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