Archive & delete (Android)

This information is for the Gmail app for Android 4.0 and up.

When you open or select a message, you can use these icons to remove it from your Inbox:

Archive icon Archive
Delete icon Delete
What happens when I archive or delete a message?

Archive icon Archive removes the message from your Inbox but keeps it in your account so that you can find it later.

Delete icon Delete moves the message to the Trash where it will be permanently deleted from your account after 30 days. Messages deleted from Trash can’t be recovered.

Gmail gives you plenty of storage space, so if you think there’s a chance you’ll need the message later, just archive it.

Find and move archived and deleted messages

Archived messages

Find archived messages

Here are a few ways to locate messages:

  • Search: Touch the Search icon Search icon while viewing your inbox or other list of conversations.
  • Labels: If you previously applied a label to a message, you can find the message by touching the Gmail icon Gmail icon and selecting the label.
  • All Mail: All archived messages are in All Mail. Touch the Gmail icon Gmail icon and select All Mail.
Move archived messages back to your Inbox
  1. Find the archived message.
  2. Open or select the message.
  3. Touch the Move to icon "Move to" icon. (If you don’t see the icon, touch  Menu > Move to.)
  4. Choose a label under “SYSTEM” at the top, such as Primary.

Deleted messages

Find deleted messages
  1. In the Gmail app, touch the Gmail icon Gmail icon.
  2. Select Trash.
Move messages out of Trash so they won’t be deleted
  1. In the Gmail app, touch the Gmail icon Gmail icon.
  2. Select Trash.
  3. Select or open a message.
  4. Touch the Move to icon "Move to" icon. 
  5. Choose a label.
Empty Trash
  1. In the Gmail app, touch the Gmail icon Gmail icon.
  2. Select Trash.
  3. Touch the  Menu icon, then Empty Trash.
When you empty Trash, messages are permanently deleted from your Gmail account and can’t be recovered.

Tip: You can also empty Spam in the same way.

Settings

Archive & delete actions

Are you more likely to archive or delete a message? This setting makes your preferred remove action visible while viewing messages and notifications.

  1. In the Gmail app, touch the  Menu icon, then Settings.
  2. Select General settings.
  3. Touch Archive & delete actions.

Learn more about the options:

  • Show archive only
    See the archive icon when you view messages.
    Archive icon in action bar
    Archive from interactive notifications (Android 4.1+). 
     
  • Show delete only
    See the delete icon when you view messages.
    Delete in action bar
    Delete from interactive notifications (Android 4.1+). 
     
  • Show archive & delete
    See the archive and delete icons when you view messages.
    Archive & delete in action bar
    Archive from interactive notifications (Android 4.1+). 

Tip: Additional actions are in the Menu, so you can always delete or archive messages.

Swipe to archive or delete while viewing your inbox

Quickly archive or delete by swiping a conversation left or right while viewing your inbox or other list of conversations. Follow these steps to enable this feature: 

  1. In the Gmail app, touch the  Menu icon, then Settings.
  2. Select General settings.
  3. Check Swipe to archive or Swipe to delete.

Note: Whether you archive or delete with swipe depends on the “Archive & delete actions” setting above. To delete instead of archive, choose Show delete only.

Tips

You can swipe in either direction.

If you accidentally swipe away a conversation, touch Undo to bring it back.

Confirm before deleting or archiving

To avoid accidentally deleting or archiving an important message, you can turn on these settings:

  1. In the Gmail app, touch the  Menu icon, then Settings.
  2. Select General settings.
  3. Check Confirm before deleting, Confirm before archiving, or both.