What is the difference between deleting and archiving emails?

There are roughly two ways to get an email out of your inbox, namely by deleting or archiving the message. But what is the difference between deleting emails and archiving emails? You can read that here.

To archive

With both archiving and deleting, the e-mail can no longer be found in your inbox. But that’s where the similarities stop.

Archiving an email can be seen as a less definitive version of deleting. The message disappears from your inbox and therefore out of sight. But the e-mail has not completely disappeared: you will always find it in the archive.

Many mail services have a separate folder with archived messages. With Gmail, the emails are a bit more difficult to find. You can always search for the messages, but there is no specific archive folder. You will find the option All email, next to your inbox. In addition to all emails in your mailbox, you will also find messages from your archive here.

You can label emails in Gmail. For example, you could label To archive can create. Mails that you want to archive can then be given this label.

Mails in your archive are therefore never automatically deleted. If your inbox is full, don’t forget to go through your archived messages for mails that you can throw away.

In Gmail you will find archived mails under the All mail heading. You can also create a label for messages you want to archive.


Deleting an email is a somewhat permanent option for cleaning up your inbox. When you delete a message, it disappears into the trash. After thirty days you will have lost the e-mail for good. So you have about a month to move your mail back to your inbox, if you wish.

Mails that you have deleted can no longer be found via a search, as with revived mails, and they do not appear under All email in Gmail.


If you always want to have access to all e-mails you have had in the past, then choose the archive option. Keep in mind that this comes at the expense of the storage space in your inbox. Google offers 15 GB of storage, divided into your inbox, Google Drive, and Google Photos. Especially e-mails with large attachments add up quickly.

Also read: How to free up Google Drive storage space

Microsoft also gives you 15GB, but this is purely for the storage of emails. So don’t make it a habit to always archive emails. If you know you’ll never open messages again, delete them immediately. This keeps your mailbox tidy.

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