In OS X before Mavericks, Mail.app with a Gmail account would remove messages only from the inbox when deleting them, but leave them in the All Mail folder; essentially archiving them. In Mavericks it now moves them to the Trash entirely. What gives?

3 Answers 3


Mavericks Mail.app is now actually aware of the All Mail folder and has "archiving" as a separate concept, just like iOS does. The old delete-from-inbox-to-archive was arguably a hack in Gmail's IMAP implementation which now no longer works. Now "Delete" actually means delete and "Archive" means archive.

The new command is in the menu under Message > Archive, its keyboard shortcut is ⌃⌘A. You can add the Archive button to the toolbar via View > Customise Toolbar... if it's not there.

Apparently you will also have to show the All Mail folder to IMAP clients, which is something you have to configure in your settings on the Gmail website. I have not confirmed this though, I always had it on anyway.

  • OMG! I did not know this. Apparently I've permanently deleted all my mails from the 2 months. I must figure out how to remap the delete key to "archive".
    – Elliott
    Jan 19, 2014 at 23:00
  • I do approve of the change. Delete should mean Delete, and Archive should mean Archive. However the implementation of Archive is still wrong. Mail simply creates another Gmail label, Archive, and labels messages with it. They remain in the Inbox on Gmail. Simply removing the Inbox label would be the correct approach. Anyone know how to make it work properly?
    – Kurt
    May 4, 2014 at 7:32
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    @Kurt FWIW, it works correctly for me, and not as you describe it.
    – deceze
    May 4, 2014 at 10:36
  • Can I configure Mail so that sliding to the left in the list of mails results in Archive instead of Delete for my Gmail account?
    – daefu
    Feb 5, 2016 at 8:17
  • I created a rule to delete certain messages. In actuality it is archiving them. May 10, 2016 at 20:32

I created a simple Mail.app plugin that you can install to restore the pre-Maverick archiving behaviour. You can find all the details on my website:

Delete2Archive - Archive Gmail Messages Using the Delete Key in OS X Mavericks Mail


For returning to the pre 10.9 behavior, see http://steve.blogs.loeppky.com/2013/12/mavericks-apple-mail-with-gmail-getting.html .

For archiving with the delete key, see http://akgungor.com/2013/11/11/delete2archive-archive-gmail-messages-using-delete-key-os-x-mavericks-mail/

  • 3
    Whilst your answer may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the article in an answer below, and provide the link for reference
    – Pfitz
    Dec 7, 2013 at 9:23

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