Archive & delete (Android)

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

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

You can archive and delete messages one-by-one or select multiple messages. Gmail gives you plenty of storage space, so if you think there’s a chance you’ll need the message later, just archive it.

To archive or delete all messages, you'll need to sign in to Gmail on your computer.

Android 4.0+

Archive & delete

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 Menu.
  2. Touch Settings.
  3. Select General settings.
  4. Touch Archive & delete actions.

When you choose to see archive, see delete, or see both, you'll be able to:

  • See the icon(s) when you view mail.
  • Choose the action (archive or delete) from interactive notifications (Android 4.1+).
  • Swipe to archive or delete (make sure the box for the swipe setting is checked).

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

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 Menu.
  2. Touch Settings.
  3. Select General settings.
  4. Check Confirm before deleting, Confirm before archiving, or both.

Find & move archived 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 menu Menu and selecting the label.
  • All Mail: All archived messages are in All Mail. Touch the menu Menu 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 the menu Menu then touch 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 menu Menu.
  2. Select Trash.
Move messages out of Trash so they won’t be deleted
  1. In the Gmail app, touch the menu Menu.
  2. Select Trash.
  3. Select or open a message.
  4. Touch the "Move to" icon Move to icon.
  5. Choose a label.
Empty Trash

When you empty Trash, messages are permanently deleted from your Gmail account and can’t be recovered.

  1. In the Gmail app, touch the menu Menu.
  2. Select Trash.
  3. Touch the menu Menu.
  4. Touch Empty Trash.
Tip: You can also empty Spam in the same way.
Android 2.3


You can archive conversations, to move them out of your Inbox without deleting them.

Archived conversations are assigned the All Mail label, and they retain any other labels you’ve assigned to them. See Viewing conversations by label. They’re also included in search results. If someone replies to a message that you’ve archived, its conversation is restored to your Inbox.

To archive a conversation, follow one of the options below:

  • While viewing a list of conversations, touch & hold a conversation and touch Archive in the menu that opens.
  • Check one or more conversations in your Inbox or other conversation list and touch Archive.
  • When reading a message, touch Archive at the bottom of the screen.


When you Delete a message in the Gmail app for Android, the conversation is automatically archived and added to the Trash label.

To permanently delete a conversation from the Trash label, use the Gmail web app:

  1. Visit in your mobile web browser to access the Gmail web app.
  2. From the Inbox, touch Menu.
  3. Select the Trash label.
  4. Select the conversations you'd like to delete.
  5. Touch Delete forever.

Vivian is a Gmail expert and the author of this help page. Leave her feedback about this help page.

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