My Archived Email Disappeared!!

The question about Google Mail that I get asked more often than any other question is, “where does an email go when you “archive” it?”

Well, there are a couple of places that your email may have gone. First, if you “labelled” the email it will be in the category that you labelled it with. The categories are located on the left hand side of your screen.

Inbox Screenshot of All Mail
Inbox Screenshot of All Mail

In short, it is removed from your Inbox and is then located inside the thing that looks strikingly similar to a folder but is not called a folder in the world of Google Mail.

A benefit of the Google Mail system of not using folders is that you can have more than one label on an email. For example, in my Google Mail inbox I can have labels such as “training” or “support” or “recipes” or even “stuff from mom”.

If you put an email into a folder, strictly speaking, it can only be in one folder whereas labels allow an email to have more than one label – I can label it as “recipes” and “stuff from mom” meaning it is then located in a couple of folders.

Once the email is labelled, you hit the archive button (the little down arrow) and then bam! the email is out of your inbox.

However, if you choose NOT to label an email and you hit archive, the email is still moved out of your inbox (hooray!!).

Inbox Screenshot of All Mail
Inbox Screenshot of All Mail

However, the question is – where did the unlabeled email end up. The answer is – in the category called “All Mail“.

You may not be able to see the category titled “All Mail” until you scroll to the bottom of your list of labels and have clicked on the “More” button. Then you can see the words “All Mail”.

“All Mail” is where all the mail that you have archived (intentionally or unintentionally) can be found.