(Updated 11/6/2017) Mark writes: I was filing some mail on my iPhone 4, but instead of putting my messages in a folder I pressed “Archive”. Where is this archive and how can I retrieve items? Hi Mark! So, I’m guessing you were filing messages in a Gmail account, correct? Well, don’t worry. Your archived e-mail hasn’t gone far.
When you set up a Gmail account on the iPhone (or iPad, for that matter), you get the option of “archiving” your e-mail messages rather than deleting them.
Indeed, you’ve probably noticed that when you open a Gmail message, the usual “Trash” icon at the bottom of the screen is missing. In its place: a tiny Archive button.
Also, when you swipe a message in your Gmail inbox from right to left, you’ll see a blue “Archive” button appear rather than red “Trash” button. (Just so you know, swiping from left to right on a Gmail message will reveal a Trash button.)
OK, so what happens when you archive your messages? Where do they go? Easy—they’ve been shuffled into Gmail’s “All Mail” folder.
How to find an archived email message in Gmail’s “All Mail” folder
Tap the iOS Mail icon, go to the main Mailboxes screen (if you’re viewing a particular mailbox, you’ll need to tap the navigation arrow at the top of the screen to back up), scroll down to you list of Accounts (the headings should be gray), and tap your Gmail account.
You should now see a list of all your Gmail folders—and near the top, you’ll see one marked “All Mail.” Tap it; within a few seconds, your iPhone will load the latest messages in your All Mail directory.
If you don’t see the message you archived, try searching; scroll to the top of the message list, then swipe down again with your finger until the search bar appears.
You can, of course, also find your archived messages by searching your Gmail account on the web.
How to replace the “Archive” button with the “Trash” button
Want to delete your Gmail messages rather than archive them? Easy.
Tap the Settings icon on your iPhone’s home screen, tap Accounts & Passwords, tap the name of your Gmail account, then tap Account on the following screen. Now tap Advanced, then tap the Deleted Mailbox setting under the “Move Discarded Messages into” section.
Now, go back to your Gmail inbox in the Mail app, open a message, and you should see the standard Trash button at the bottom of the screen rather than the Archive button.