Have you received a new email message on Gmail and accidentally archived it in an attempt to read it? You have archived several messages on Gmail, now you would like to retrieve them because you need some information from them, but you don't know how to do it? If that's the case, you don't have to worry, because I have all the answers you're looking for.
In today's guide, I'll show you how to recover archived Gmail emails in a few simple steps. First, I'll explain how the Gmail archive works and how to easily find messages hosted on the service. Next, I'll explain how to retrieve a message from the web version of Gmail and its Android and iOS app.
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Before dealing with the topic of how to retrieve emails stored on Gmail, it seems appropriate to clarify the functioning of the Archive of the famous Google e-mail service. You must, in fact, know that the archive of Gmail (as well as that of other email services) is intended to store all the emails that you do not want to see in your inbox but, at the same time, do not want to delete.
Actually, you can also store messages in other folders, such as those included in your Sent Mail, but extracting them from the archive will still move them to your Inbox folder.
The search for messages stored in Gmail is done through a special search engine included in the service, which I'll tell you about in the next chapters. In this regard, however, I want to suggest some operators that you can use to optimize your search.
First, you can use operators from:, to:, cc: and bcc: to identify the sender or recipient of a message. These operators accept both the name displayed by the user and their email address. You will then, for example, need to type the string from: For Data Recovery to locate all messages coming from the For Data Recovery user.
Another useful operator is subject: which allows you to search only in the subject line of emails. As far as the information in the body of the message is concerned, the has: operator could be useful to you. It should always be accompanied by a subject, such as those indicated below.
- has:attachment requires that only messages with an attachment are displayed;
- has:drive requires that only messages with an attached Google Drive file are displayed;
- has:document requires that only messages with an attached Google Documents file are displayed;
- has:spreadsheet requires that only messages with an attached Google Sheets file are displayed;
- has:presentation requires that only messages with a Google Presentations file attached are displayed;
- has:youtube requires that only messages with a YouTube video are displayed
As far as attachments are concerned, you might also be interested in the filename operator:, which allows you to search all emails that contain a particular extension (e.g. filename:txt) or a specific file (e.g. filename:nomefile.txt).
Considering the attachments, a message may have a certain size in bytes. For this purpose, you can use the size: operator, which displays all messages that exceed a specific size in bytes, or those named smaller: or larger: which search for smaller or larger messages of a specified size, respectively. For example, size:5242880 shows all emails that exceed 5MB.
Finally, I also recommend the after: and before: time operators, which allow you to filter messages according to a specific time interval. Please note that the date format is the US yyyyy/mm/dd, i.e. first the year, then the month and finally the day. You can write, for example, after: 2019/06/01 to filter all messages received after 01/06/2019.
Retrieve emails stored on Gmail from your PC
Recovering emails stored on Gmail is not a difficult operation. If you act as a computer, via the web version of Gmail, you can retrieve your emails using the procedures I will show you below.
First, open the browser you usually use to browse the Internet and go to mail.google.com. After that, log in with your Gmail account, following the procedure shown on the screen. If you have any doubts about the login procedure, I suggest you read my guide on how to log into a Gmail account.
On the main Gmail screen, use the search bar at the top, called Search in Mail, to type certain terms in the message, which can help you find the emails you're looking for. To make it easier for you, you can use the operators I told you about in the previous chapter.
Alternatively, via the left sidebar, click on the items Other > All Messages, to access the list of emails that are in your email account, including archived emails.
When you have found the email you want to retrieve and then move it to your Inbox, right-click on it and select Move to Inbox from the context menu. Alternatively, open the inbox, click on it and then press the Move to Inbox icon in the top bar.
If you have followed the procedures I indicated to the letter, your message will be available in your Inbox folder. That was easy, wasn't it?
Retrieve emails stored on Gmail from smartphones and tablets
If you manage your Gmail inbox via the Android or iOS app, you can retrieve an archived email in a very simple way, similar to the one already described in the previous chapter of the tutorial.
First, launch the Gmail app (whose envelope-shaped icon is located on the home screen) and if you haven't logged in yet, add your Gmail account by logging in with your credentials. If you have any doubts about following the on-screen procedure, you can consult this guide dedicated to this topic.
Now, on the main screen of the Gmail app, use the search bar at the top, Search in Mail, to type in terms that can help you find what you're looking for. For example, you can type a few words that you remember from the body of the message, or you can use the operators I mentioned in a previous chapter.
Alternatively, you can locate it directly inside the All Messages folder, which you can reach by clicking on the ☰ icon and selecting All Messages.
Once you have found the archived email you want to retrieve, tap on it and click on the three dot icon in the top right corner. On Android, select the one called Move to Inbox from the items shown, and on iOS, select the one called Move to Inbox.
Alternatively, you can move an archived email directly from the message list by keeping your finger pressed on the email and tapping on the top three dots icon. In the box you see, select Move to Inbox, Android, or Move to Inbox, iOS, and you're done.