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Do you have this (look down) problem after installing the new version of Gmail? That is, when you open a message, all you see are options for archive, mark unread, and add to folder? You're not alone! If you downloaded the new version of Gmail (v4.5) from the Play Store today, it's likely that your "Archive & delete actions" were reset when the app was installed. We're not sure why Google did this (well maybe Google doesn't really want you deleting your email, that would make sense from a business standpoint), but here's how to fix it.


Hit the menu button, and go to settings. Then, go to general settings. You should see the option below at the top of the list - Archive & delete actions. Right now, it's set to "Show archive only" - and at this point you probably don't need much more of my help, but I'll explain anyway.


Tap it, and you get three options - archive only, delete only, and archive & delete. The third option gets rid of the 'move to folder' action. Choose the one you want (probably the second or third), and you're set to go - your little trash icon will return.


Here's how it looks with archive & delete selected, for example. Do note, however, that selecting archive only or archive & delete will make it such that your swipe action will only be able to archive. If you still want to swipe to delete, you must select 'delete only' from the actions menu above.


Yep, that's kind of annoying, right? It certainly had me scratching my head for a couple of minutes. If you haven't update to Gmail v4.5 yet, it's on the Play Store now.

By the way, if you're having trouble with multi-select in the new Gmail, fret not - it still works. Check out this article.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Marcus Lee

    Phew, almost made me regret going the Play Store route for a second there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kobine Kobi Nechmadi

    i don't think that's an accident if there's a preference for it , their new moto is :you don't have to delete anything, archive everything

    • Andrei

      I actually think it's better this way. I never liked deleting stuff, I was always worried I might need it again some time later.

      • Matthew Fry

        And in my experience, I have. I've gone back and needed emails from 2005.

      • shonangreg

        I long ago set up a separate account and had either filters or usually a general forwarder that forwarded everything from all of my regular gmail accounts to that one. I rarely use this universal dropbox account, and I never respond from it, but if I ever accidentally delete something from one of my main gateway gmail accounts, then I just log in to that account and the messages are all there.

        I suppose if I were getting numerous big attachments I might have to delete old attachments at some point, but it is not as issue for me now. I'd need to be able to sort messages by size to do that well, btw, and I don't think gmail has that feature.

        • Claude Gohier

          You cannot sort by size, but you can search by size.

          For example, searching for "larger:5m" will return emails larger than 5MB.

          • shonangreg

            Thanks, Claude. That is useful.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Good point.

    • naysayer

      Right, however that was always the motto of Gmail, hence the 1 GB of space it started with.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      "their new moto" - carefully hidden pun.

  • Chris Allen

    For some reason they are super adamant against people deleting emails. For years they have been trying to get people to stop deleting emails. Eventually the option will be gone.

    • Morrissex

      Wondering why...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Because you saving your email is good for Google. Spam ID, AdWords, etc.

      • Chris Allen

        Yep. Data mining and your permanent internet record.

    • dirtmound

      Considering I'm already using 71% of my allowed space, I need to keep deleting before they put me in a position to contemplate buying more from them.

      • philipbuster

        And there's reason #2 they don't want you to delete.

  • http://cometeelmundo.net/ Cómete el Mundo


  • Mastermind26

    Thank you!
    Scratched my head and got as far as the general settings, but I didn't think of tapping it for options.



    Please google, have an option for swipe left in the email list "mark as read and archive" and swipe to the right "delete"

    • George Millhouse

      yeah because people wont get that all confused lol

  • b00sted

    Is there a option to swipe to delete emails I am just overlooking somewhere also?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      You have to select "delete only" from the actions menu, and then swiping will be set to delete. This is the only way swipe to delete will work.

  • Clint P

    Is anyone else not getting new email notifications with the new update?

    • http://mitchs.co Mitch Samuels

      I have two accounts. My google Apps account is getting them fine, but my primary isn't. I haven't tried to fix it because it's actually quite nice for me;) It makes it so I'm not reading emails every 5 minutes. I just see them when I go to my computer!

      But yes.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      You have to manually enable notifications for the new inbox tabs (social, promotions, updates, forums) in the individual account settings of the app. By default, you will only receive notifications for emails that go to your "primary" inbox when using the new Gmail inbox configuration.

      • Clint P

        Ah, found it. Thanks!

    • EH101

      If you've already enabled the new categories, you have to go to Settings>(your account)>Manage labels

      I had to set notification settings (sound on, vibrate, notify once) here for Primary, Social, Promoitions, Updates, and Forums in odrer for my notifications to work like they used to. I also told it to sync all for each of those. Works fine for me.

  • Michael Ta

    David can you help me with my essay? Your writing is so catching even for this tiny little how-to.

    AP does indeed has a very unique set of people.

  • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

    When I choose "Delete Only" and receive a Gmail notification, I see the "Delete" option instead of "Archive" in the notification shade. If I press "Delete", though, I receive a Gmail Force Close. Anyone else experience this?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Google *really* doesn't want you deleting email, apparently. :P

      • cabbiebot

        sadface :( tried reflashed gapps and fixed permissions but no love.

        At least disqus has decided to work in Android chrome beta since I've tweeted the non loading issue at their support account.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Really? That's great news. That has always bugged me about Chrome for Android. I can never, ever get DISQUS to load in Chrome over a mobile data connection.

          • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

            Ugh, I spoke too soon. I was on wifi, not a mobile connection. It's still broken.

          • EH101

            Disqus works just fine for me on my Note 2 in Chrome Beta... Possibly because of LTE?

          • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

            Doesn't work for me on Sprint's LTE with Chrome or Chrome Beta. (insert obvious sprint network joke)

            But it does work in the stock browser, Dolphin and Firefox on a mobile connection. All on Android 4.2.2.

          • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

            That's not the only annoying issue I have with Chrome and Chrome Beta. On a couple of different forums, when I try to enter text into the box, after I've entered a few characters the keyboard will simply disappear and not return.

          • EH101

            Well that crushes my theory. But I'll admit I don't reply on forums using any browser so I haven't had that issue. Very odd indeed.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Works fine for me with Chrome Beta and AT&T LTE on the Note II.

  • duse

    Does this matter so much? Even with "archive only" set, you can still delete from the menu...

    • PhineasJW

      I hope you're not an interface designer. ;)

      • duse

        It's not my sole job, but I do it quite frequently. The overflow menu is the perfect place for an infrequently used item like Delete. It's nice Google lets you choose which action shows in the action bar, but typically that type of UI customization is simply too much complexity to bother including. Anyway, I was just pointing this out because the article failed to mention it and it's something people might like to know - you don't have to put Delete in the action bar to be able to delete, if you only do it every so often, it's right there in the menu. Article makes it sound like you must go into settings and change this to be able to delete at all.

        • PhineasJW

          Fair enough. I see that your point was that you can delete from the overflow without having to go into settings.

          For me, I delete and never archive. So, a button at the top level is both 'obvious' and one-click -- which trumps something hidden in the overflow and two-clicks.

          But, Google has all the metrics on the number of deletions vs archives ... perhaps I'm in the minority.

        • h_f_m

          I use delete way more than archive..

        • Kie

          My most used gmail buttons are delete and mark unread; if given the option I would always have these within close reach

  • unhappybirthday

    Notice how they take away the "Move to folder" icon when you set it to "Show archive & delete". There is plenty of room for a 4th icon there.

    • David

      Ugh! I didn't notice that. Thanks for pointing it out. I guess I'll have to only show delete.

  • NoBullet

    This didnt happen on my Nexus 7. Delete button was already there.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Did you download it from the Play Store, or install the APK manually?

      • NoBullet

        Play Store.

        Im not sure if it mattered, but in my old Gmail version I set "swipe to delete", maybe it thinks I wanted the delete button at top as well.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock


        • Paul_Werner

          Same thing here but I installed from the apk manually on my N7 & N4. I had the delete button on both after the update. Also had "swipe to delete" set

  • ddpacino

    I wish we can configure left and right swipes. I want to swipe to delete and archive, on any given message.

  • Greyhame

    Selecting the third option (Show Archive & delete) makes my "Move to" icon/action disappear from the hot key list and adds it to the settings menu. It keeps the "Mark unread" option visible. It looks like it did that for you as well...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yep, corrected a few minutes ago to reflect this.

  • philnolan3d

    Thanks for the info. I never saw the point in Archive so it's Delete Only for me.

  • http://gregramsaran.com Greg

    Woah, this is creepy, it's like you read my mind. I would have found this later after looking thru the settings but thanks for making this easier ;)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    To anyone who says why delete when you can just archive - I don't understand you. Archiving means the crap you don't want to see anymore will still show up in things like searches or when you try to browse All Mail. It is *not* the same as deleting.

    • Ibrahim Awwal

      Yeah, I archive stuff that's personal email or things I might want to find later, but there is no reason to keep time sensitive emails like daily deals newsletters and the like so I always delete those.

      Incidentally I'm finding that for those with a hardware menu key (eg. GS3/GS4) it's actually easier to keep delete hidden and use the menu to delete rather than reach all the way up to the action bar. Bleh they need to add a bottom action bar option...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Ha, so if you reverse it and have Archive on top, Delete pops down? On the Note 2, I might actually prefer it.

        • Ibrahim Awwal

          Yeah I think whatever button isn't I the action bar shows up in the menu is which would normally be an action overflow unless you have a menu button.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            The problem with this is now I can't swipe to delete, which is even worse. I'd rather go back and swipe than gain menu Delete but no swipe.

    • Freak4Dell

      The reason many of us archive is because we want that stuff to show up in searches. I've used GMail search many times to find things from way back when. Hell, I've used it to find certain comments posted on this site.

      I delete stuff like promotional email, though.

  • Matthew Fry

    Personally, I did not have those settings reset. It was on delete only already (I don't archive).

  • ceebu

    Dang.. why are the actions on the top? And I can't bring it down!

  • umataro42

    Thanks for the tip. I also unchecked the "show sender image" option that apparently was switched on by default.

  • CoolCustomer

    Has anyone else noticed that having this feature set to "Show Archive Only" or "Show Archive and Delete" makes swiping emails from the inbox Archive instead of Delete and changes the default option in the notification shade from Delete to Archive?

    • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman


      " Do note, however, that selecting archive only or archive & delete will make it such that your swipe action will only be able to archive.If you still want to swipe to delete, you must select 'delete only' from the actions menu above."

      Looks like David noticed it and even wrote about it in an article... If only I can find where that article is.

      • CoolCustomer

        Man, I usually don't skip the last few lines in an article, thx for pointing that out.

        • Avrohom Eliezer Friedman

          No sweat - just in one of those moods

    • Kie

      It worked the same way in the last version of gmail as well. Actually, it's worked this way for a while.

  • Gargamel

    No permanent unread count, that's bad for me. Am I supposed to remember how many unread I have? Decided to remove 4.5, back to 4.2.2...
    Anyone else cares or it's just me?

    • Kie

      The slide out menu has the unread count for each label. Or am I missing something?

      • gargamel

        That's exactly the point. I would like to see, on the main screen, at any time, how many unread emails I have. I don't want this information hiding in the slide out menu or disappearing from the main screen after a few seconds.
        But again, maybe it's just me. Sticking with 4.2.2 for now...

  • IncCo

    Yeah.. im not updating this for as long as these changes stay put.

    • George Millhouse

      you do that you rebel you

  • Jason Brown

    "If you still want to swipe to delete, you must select 'delete only' from the actions menu above." most annoying thing about the new update. i wish we could have both icons and still have swipe to delete.

  • 2LadyDi

    Thank you for this information Android Police. Worked great for me as I did not have an issue until I read about it.

  • Andreas Brandenborg

    Thank you :)

  • Lalit Mali

    I don't like the account chooser in the sidebar. The account chooser in the new Drive app is so much better!!
    Please G, bring that to GMail,

  • MAd

    Worst gmail... don't have logoff option for android version

  • Jeconiah

    Thanks for looking out ;)

  • ithehappy

    And the delete button is back....Wow...now delete your conversation viewed emails....delete something from inbox and your sent messages are going to be deleted too...Wow.
    Why don't you rename Gmail to Gdumb? That's make more sense.

  • http://www.amomspointofview.com/ KayK

    Silly to have to change it back but at least it's easy to change back.


  • David

    thank you!!!!!!!!

    This was driving me nuts!!

  • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

    Try this: Go to all mail or archive a message. Is it just me or did they remove the option to "move to inbox"

  • Bender101

    worst decision ever to remove the ease delete bin for gmail. 50 emails a day, 365 days a year who want to archive 18,250 emails. I think most people archive emails they want to keep not all the "have a nice day" emails. Big mistake

  • Booyabobby

    Weird, my delete button was already enabled after I got the update. What I did not know was that you had to turn on notifications for each label now. Took me a day to figure that out.

  • Guest

    Galaxy S4 here. I set to "Show archive & delete" and BOTH icons disappear. instructions on the web show both are suppose to show.


    Thank you so much! I dont like archiving all those unnecessary emails, thanks for the tip!

  • disgrunteled

    Help! I don't have an "archive-delete option!

  • Al Eng

    It was set up to comply (AHCTUNG!) with the govts invasion of your privacy.

  • Bernie

    We cannot even find a menu button!

  • lsmiaka

    I am also wondering (like ceebu) why the buttons are now at the top of the screen, and not the bottom? I just got a new phone which came with the new Gmail app. On my old phone, the buttons (incl. delete) were at the bottom of the screen, and easy to access. My new phone has a much larger screen and it requires two handed operation for me to access the delete button, now. =[ Is there any way to move them to the bottom? Can't find the option.