I woke up this morning to an empty Gmail inbox, all of the messages (about 90 or so) were archived except for a few emails that came in overnight. Is there a way to restore the state of my inbox as of a certain time to restore all the messages? I know the messages aren't lost and appear in my "all mail" section, but the messages I kept in my inbox were pending issues I had to deal with, and are hard to find when looking through my "all mail" section which has thousands and thousands of emails, I can't remember which 90 were still pending issues.

For what it's worth, I don't know how all the messages were archived, I checked my recent logins and security settings and everything was normal, and the only apps that have access to my inbox are the iPhone mail app and Gmail for iPhone, both of which probably didn't auto-archive all my mail.

  • I'll look, but I'm afraid you're probably out of luck. For the future, consider using another way to indicate messages are something you need to act on, either with a different label or the "star".
    – ale
    Jun 14, 2016 at 19:27
  • 1
    You originally had inbox-by-gmail, which is a new experimental app from Google (and not a tag about the inbox in Gmail). Did you perhaps "snooze" all of your messages in there? If so, they'll appear as "archived" in regular Gmail until they come back.
    – ale
    Jun 14, 2016 at 22:56
  • @Jeff You may also find the [Advanced search] (support.google.com/mail/answer/7190?hl=en) terms in Gmail useful for helping locate these messages in 'All Mail'.
    – Folk
    Jun 15, 2016 at 12:09
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    @AlE. If the original post was about Inbox instead of Gmail, it sounds like Jeff may have accidentally 'swept' his Inbox to clear it. There is no 'undo' for this, but all the messages are still there, somewhere. I wouldn't refer to Inbox as experimental anymore. It's been out for about a year and is also a fully supported part of Google's enterprise offering, Google Apps.
    – Folk
    Jun 15, 2016 at 12:15

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, no, there's no activity log within Gmail that's accessible to users. The only "undo" option there is, really, is what's available immediately after performing an action.

So, recovering what you happened to have labeled "inbox" doesn't seem practical. At best, you could look through your messages in "all mail" for the past month or so and see if there's anything you recognize, and/or search for terms you're pretty sure were in one or more of those messages.

Of course, you'll want to be sure no one else is logged in to your account or that you're logged in from somewhere you forgot to sign out. (Logout out of all devices for a Google account) Also double-check to ensure that only the apps you're expecting are linked to your account. (Which Google services have I signed up for?)

For the future, you might want to modify your process a bit, so that messages you explicitly want to return to are easy to find, but either using the "star" functionality of Gmail or a custom label.

  • Thanks everyone for your help and for looking into this. So I guess there is no option anywhere to restore inbox as of two days ago. Or no option to see a picture of what my inbox used to look like so I could easily find all the messages in my "all mail" section... This will definitely make me rethink my organizational methods... damn ok. thanks again everyone.
    – Jeff
    Jun 15, 2016 at 14:05

It's happened to me what you just have to do is open your Gmail, click on all-inboxes and search for any related word to the missing files, or message, that all look closely and Carefully you will see it.


Enter this into the Gmail Search bar

has:nouserlabels -in:Sent -in:Chat -in:Draft -in:Inbox

Select the ones that you want returned to Inbox

A line of icons will appear

The second to the last one on the right is Return to Inbox

move to inbox

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