How To Archive All Emails in Gmail

If you’ve lost all hopes of organizing your Gmail inbox, it might be time for a fresh start. However, you’ll probably need some of those emails in the future, so deleting your entire inbox isn’t an option. Luckily, Gmail offers an archiving option that allows you to remove all mail from your inbox but keep it accessible.

How To Archive All Emails in Gmail

Keep reading to learn how you can archive all emails in Gmail at once.

How to Archive All Emails in Gmail

If you’ve used Gmail for some time, it would probably take you a long time to archive each email individually. Fortunately, there’s an option that allows you to archive all emails at once whether you read them or not.

This method relies on the Gmail’s powerful search engine and filter function. Note that you can only perform this action on your browser using Gmail’s web client. Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the “Inbox” tab in the left sidebar.
  2. Type “in:inbox” in the search bar at the top to gather emails from all your categories.
  3. Select the tick box in the upper-left corner, under the “From” tab.
  4. Click on the “Select all conversations that match this search” option above the email list.
  5. Navigate to the “Archive” icon next to the tick box you selected in step 3.
  6. Press “OK” in the pop-up window to confirm the bulk action.

Depending on the number of emails in your Inbox, Gmail might take some time to complete the action. You’ll know the process is done once all your emails disappear from your Inbox folder.

Mobile-only users can force their browser to display a desktop version of Gmail by using “Desktop mode” or a variation thereof on their browser app. This is typically found in the tab settings and options. However, the result may vary based on browsers and screen sizes and using the PC is much simpler.

How to Archive All Old Emails in Gmail

Perhaps a completely empty inbox isn’t appealing to you or you want to keep all the recent emails at hand. In that case, you can get rid of the older irrelevant emails, while keeping the newer ones easily accessible in your Inbox folder. All you need to do is refine your filter by inputting the desired time period for archiving emails.

Follow these steps to archive a part of your inbox:

  1. Access the “Inbox” tab from the left sidebar.
  2. Enter “in:inbox” in the search bar to return all emails from different categories to your Inbox.
  3. Type “before:yyyy/mm/dd” in the search bar to filter all emails before a particular date. Replace the bold parts with the date you want.
  4. Tick the empty box at the top left, under the “From” tab.
  5. Click the “Select all conversations that match this search” option above the selected emails.
  6. Press the “Archive” icon in the top left corner (a down-pointing arrow).
  7. Confirm the bulk action by hitting “OK” in the pop-up window.

If you’d like to archive messages during a specific period, also add the “after:yyyy/mm/dd” command during Step 3. For example, cutting messages between Jan 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 looks like this: “after:2020/01/01 before:2021/06/30.”

What Happens to Archived Emails?

There’s no designated Archive folder in Gmail. So, when you archive an email, it transfers from the Inbox to the All Mail folder. Simply put, you’re storing your emails out of sight without worrying they will be gone forever.

When deleting an email, it will move to the Trash folder. Emails from this folder are deleted permanently after 30 days. Don’t worry, though, this isn’t the case for the archived email. They will remain in your All Mail folder until you manually delete them.

You can access your archived emails using the following methods:

  • Navigating to the All Mail folder in the left sidebar
  • Typing “in:archive” in the search bar at the top of your page
  • Using the search bar to look for a specific archived email by entering a keyword

You can archive either a read or unread email. If you choose to archive an email without opening it, it will stay unread in the All Mail folder. Similarly, if you add a label to an email before archiving it, the label will stay on. This can help you find the desired emails quicker later on.

Archived emails still consume your storage space, as they are not permanently deleted. However, they’re not counted in the total number of read or unread emails in your inbox.

When the recipient replies to an archived email, it will return to your Inbox. If you don’t like the prospect of your Inbox getting cluttered again, you can set up your emails to be automatically archived.

How to Automatically Archive Emails in Gmail

Archiving your emails won’t stop new ones from coming. There are probably some emails you must keep but don’t want to look at every time you open Gmail. If that’s the case, you can use a filter feature to automatically archive those emails upon arrival.

  1. Open an email you’d like to automatically archive.
  2. Click the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner, under the printer icon.
  3. Select the “Filter messages like these” option.
  4. Press the “Create filter” button in the pop-up window under the search bar.
  5. Tick the “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)” box.
  6. Click the “Create Filter” button at the bottom right.

Keep Your Inbox Clean

The archiving tool is a simple yet effective way to prevent your inbox from getting clogged up with headache-inducing emails. Best of all, the action isn’t irreversible, as you can access the archived emails at any time and even return them back to inbox if necessary.

Have you had issues with a cluttered Gmail inbox? How did your resolve them? Let us know in the comments section below.

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