When it comes to removing emails, there are two options that almost all services have: “Archive” and “Delete”. For some Gmail users this is a little confusing because there are two options that are actually very similar. But after all, what is the difference between archiving or deleting an email in Gmail and which one should you use?
Gmail: is it better to archive or delete an email?
Both archiving and deleting emails will remove them from your inbox. However that is where the similarities end. Knowing the difference between the two could potentially save you some trouble.
What happens when you “archive” an email?
The archive function in email services is essentially a soft erase. This removes the email from your inbox and view. That is, it looks like you deleted the email. But in reality he did not disappear forever.
Archived emails are usually placed in a special “Archive” folder. However in the case of Gmail they don’t go to a special folder, but are visible when we switch to the “All Mail” option. Archived emails also appear in search results.
If you think about physical mail, the filing function is like stuffing a piece of mail into a drawer. We don’t see him anymore but he’s still there if we need him.
What happens when you delete an email?
Deleting an email is a somewhat permanent function. When you delete an email it is normally moved to a “Junk Email” folder. That’s where it will stay for 30 days, after which it’s permanently removed.
Emails that have been deleted do not appear in “All Emails” and you cannot find them with the search. However, you have 30 days to change your mind. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll never see them again.
To use the physical mail example again, deleting is like putting mail in your trash can. It may take a few days to recover. But after he is taken he disappears forever.
What should you use?
With these settings in mind, you might be thinking that there’s no reason to ever completely delete an email. Well, that might be true… if you’re willing to pay for storage. It’s just that the days of unlimited free storage for Gmail accounts are over.
Why you should delete emails instead of archiving them
In 2013, Google merged all account data and limited the free plan to 15GB. Your Gmail inbox, Google Drive and Google Photos count towards this space. This means that archived emails count towards this.
So it’s good practice to delete any email you may never need again.
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