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Every morning my email inbox is an absolute disaster zone. The problem is that most of my new messages are things I want to read once and then not see again. Thanks to Gmail’s “Archive” button, which moves messages out of your main inbox but doesn’t delete them, I’m able to get everything at least somewhat manageable, but it still takes quite a bit of time. Two Gmail features (one more of a tip) promise to cut down on some of that time.

A new feature in Gmail Labs (Google’s experimental area for its email program) gives you the option to “Send & Archive” a message, according to the Gmail blog. This should save a few precious clicks (and more importantly, seconds) for those of us who archive nearly everything. It could also help you more easily achieve what 43 Folders’ founder Merlin Mann refers to as “Inbox Zero” — getting your email inbox at (or near) zero unread messages (watch the presentation he gave at Google about the topic in 2007 below).

Another feature that isn’t particularly new, but is arguably more useful, is setting up easy Gmail archiving from your iPhone. Obviously, you can archive messages if you use Gmail in the iPhone’s Safari web browser, but for those of us who use the iPhone’s built-in email client, it’s kind of a pain to archive something when you do it for almost every email. But by changing the IMAP settings for your Gmail account on the iPhone, you can make it so that the “delete” functionality becomes the archive function.

As Google has made abundantly clear over the years, Gmail has so much storage that there’s no real need to delete messages, so why not save all of them just in case you need to search them later? And if you’re okay with doing that, it makes sense to turn “delete” into “archive” on the iPhone. The video embedded below shows you how to easily set it up.

I, for one, would still love to see a native Gmail app on the iPhone, but perhaps Apple is blocking other email clients from coming to the device. So at the very least, I’d love to see an actual “archive” button on the next version of Apple’s iPhone mail client, so I can choose whether to delete or archive a message. And while we’re at it, how about the ability to “star” a message, just like you can in Gmail as well?

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