How To Archive Emails on Mac

Archiving emails on your Mac after you've read them is a great way to keep your inbox clean and tidy. It also means that you can access old messages later if you need them again, unlike deleted messages, which can be lost forever. In this guide, we'll show you the steps to Mac Mail archiving, and look at the best email archiver for Mac, Clean Email, which can automate routine email tasks for you.

Where To Find and How To Archive Emails on Mac

The methods for archiving email on Mac are always straightforward, no matter whether you're using the built-in Mail app provided by Apple, or a third-party mail service like Gmail or Outlook in your web browser. Here, we'll take a look at all three scenarios.

How to archive Gmail emails on Mac

If you're using Gmail in your web browser, you can store an open email by simply clicking the archive button — which looks like a bankers box. It appears toward the top of the page, just beneath the search bar. To archive messages in bulk, follow these steps:

  1. Head to your inbox and use the checkboxes next to each of your messages to select all those you want to be archived
  2. Click the Archive button that appears at the top of the screen beneath the search bar

How to archive Outlook emails on Mac

If you're using Outlook in your browser, you can archive Outlook emails by opening a message and clicking the archive button at the top of the page. To store messages in bulk, follow these steps:

  1. Head to your inbox and use the checkboxes next to each of your messages to select all those you want to be archived
  2. Click the Archive button at the top of the screen

How to archive emails in Mac Mail

If you're using the built-in Mail app on Mac, the process for archiving emails is the same — no matter which mail provider you use. To archive an email you have open, simply click the archive button, which looks like a bankers box, at the top of the window. Alternatively, you can right-click a message in the inbox pane and click archive in the context menu that pops up.

To archive messages in bulk within the Mac Mail app, follow these steps:

  1. Hold down the Command key on your keyboard, then click all the messages you want to archive to select them
  2. Click the Archive button at the top of the Mail window
  3. How to archive emails in Mac Mail

You can also ask Mac Mail to archive emails automatically after a certain period of time. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Mail then click Mail in your Mac's menu bar
  2. Click Preferences..., then click Rules
  3. Click Preferences on Mac Mail
  4. Click Add Rule to create a new one
  5. Give your rule a name
  6. Give your rule a name, then open the drop-down box that says From and select Date received
  7. Click the drop-down box that says is less than and select is greater than
  8. Enter how many days you would like to keep new emails
  9. Enter how many days you would like to keep new emails for before they are archived
  10. Click the drop-down box that says No mailbox selected and choose Archive
  11. Save your new rule by clicking OK
  12. Save your new rule by clicking OK

Apple Mail will now archive emails automatically. To turn off Mac Mail archiving later, simply repeat the steps above to find the rule you created, select it, then click Remove.

How To Find Archived Emails on Mac

To find an archived email in Gmail, Outlook, or Mac Mail, simply use the search box. Archived messages appear in search results alongside all the other emails in your inbox. If you want to scroll through the archive folder yourself, simply look for Archive in the sidebar. This appears on the left-side of the screen inside Gmail and Outlook on the web, and in the Mac Mail app.

How To Retrieve Archived Emails on Mac

If you want to send a message back to your inbox from the Apple mail archive, first find the message in the archive folder using the method outlined above, then follow these steps in Gmail:

  1. Right click the message
  2. Select Move to Inbox

And follow these steps in Outlook and the Apple Mail app:

  1. Right click the message
  2. Select Move or Move to
  3. Click Inbox

Once the email has been moved back to your Inbox, it will remain there until you move it again.

How To Delete Archived Emails on Mac

Unlike deleted emails, those in the archive continue to take up the storage space that's been allocated by your mail provider. So, over time, as your Mac mail archive becomes bigger, you may find that you need to delete old and unwanted messages to free up space.

To delete archived emails individually, simply right-click them and select Delete inside Gmail, Outlook, or the Mac Mail app. To delete archived emails in bulk, follow these steps in Gmail and Outlook:

  1. Use the checkboxes next to each of your messages to select all those you want to delete
  2. Click the Delete button, which looks like a trash can, at the top of the window

And follow these steps to delete archived emails inside the Apple Mail app:

  1. Hold down the Command key on your keyboard, then click all the messages you want to delete to select them
  2. Click the delete button, which looks like a Trash can, at the top of the Mail window

Note that deleted emails cannot be retrieved and will not show up in search results if you try to find them later. Only delete messages that you know you won't want in the future.

Mac Mail Archive Software

There are a number of third-party software solutions on the market that can help you with email archiving for Mac. These can be incredibly useful for those with particularly unruly inboxes that may be difficult or too time consuming to clean up and organize manually. Clean Email is one that offers a number of helpful functions, like Auto Clean, that take care of routine cleaning tasks automatically, so that you never have to worry about them.

When shopping for email archiving solutions, it's important to choose one that best suits your own email needs. They all have their pros and cons; some offer a very basic feature set at more affordable prices, while others do a lot more for email power users who need complex organization options. Some can also handle archiving Mac mail without reading the content of your messages (while others can't), which is important to bear in mind if you're privacy-conscious.

Use Clean Email to tame your messy inbox

Clean Email is a native Mac app that can fix even the messiest, most disorganized email inboxes. It offers an expansive set of features at an affordable price, and never has to read the content of your messages, so it's ideal for those who work with sensitive data — or simply don't want the content of their emails to be seen by third parties.

Clean up your inbox with Clean Email on MacClean up your inbox with Clean Email on Mac

One of Clean Email's best features is Auto Clean, which can automatically carry out routine cleaning tasks, like archiving and deleting old messages (e.g. older than a year) that you no longer need.

How to archive old emails in Clean Email automatically

It can also organize your emails into folders so that they're easier to find, and allows you to create rules that will immediately delete, block, mute, or unsubscribe from certain senders as they arrive.

Auto Clean feature in Clean EmailAuto Clean feature in Clean Email

Clean Email also packs another great feature called Smart Views, which takes all your messages and organizes them into bundles. You can use it to group together certain email categories, like "finance" messages, messages older than a year, and social media notifications, where they're easy to find and deal with whenever you have the time.

Smart Views feature in Clean EmailSmart Views feature in Clean Email

Try out Clean Email for yourself by taking advantage of the free trial, which lets you use its features to find out if they work for you without charging you a penny.

Wondering how to become an email guru? Check out more of our inbox management insights in our Blog including how to archive emails on iPhone and what the difference between Gmail archive vs delete is.


Mac Mail Archiving - FAQs

Where is Apple Mail archive stored?

The Apple Mail archive is stored in its own archive folder, which you can find in the sidebar of the Apple Mail app on your Mac. The archive folder also appears in the sidebar inside Gmail and Outlook when you use them in your web browser.

How do I archive old emails on Mac?

There are a number of quick and simple ways to archive email on Mac, whether you're using the built-in Apple Mail app, or Gmail or Outlook in your web browser. Our handy guide will walk you through them all.

How do I stop Mac Mail from archiving?

You can stop Mac Mail auto archive process by going into its Preferences menu and deleting the rule you created to handle automatic archiving.

Does Apple Mail automatically archive emails?

You can ask Apple Mail to archive email automatically. Check out our step-by-step guide to find out how.

Luke Dormehl Updated on Sep 16, 2022
Try Clean Email for Free
*****4.4based on 1011 user reviews
Get Started
Clean Your Mailbox

Tools like Quick Clean and Smart Views to help you quickly clean out an overloaded inbox

Unsubscribe

Keep unwanted emails out of your Inbox by unsubscribing - even from email lists that don’t have an unsubscribe link

Keep it Clean

Automate repetitive with Auto Clean rules to archive emails as they become old or sort them into folders

Clean Email interface
Use filters to find emails you want to clean.Use filters to find emails you want to clean.
Groups of Emails
Groups of Emails
Unsubscribe Button
UnsubscribeUnsubscribe
Auto Clean Button
Auto Clean Step 1
ArrowAuto Clean Actions Example
Smart Views