You may be looking for a way to back up your Gmail emails for many reasons. Whether you want to save the emails before deleting a Gmail account or simply seek peace of mind, the need to make a backup of your emails is clear. Having a useful contingency plan in place can save you the time and stress of restoring vital information.
In this article, we will explore different methods for backing up your Gmail messages and provide step-by-step instructions for each approach. From creating online copies to storing your emails on a hard drive, we've got you covered.
Table of contents:
- How to choose a backup method for Gmail emails
- Four ways to back up Gmail messages in 2023
- 1. Back up Gmail email and contacts to another account
- 2. Back up Gmail emails to a hard drive
- 3. Sync Gmail messages with an email app for offline access
- 4. Forward Gmail emails to another account
- Frequently asked questions about backing up Gmail
How to choose a backup method for Gmail emails
Two or more OneDrive accounts cannot be merged or synced, according to Microsoft. However, it is possible to copy the files from one OneDrive account to another or share the documents with the other account.
Before choosing a backup method you should decide whether you want to keep a copy of your Gmail messages online or offline.
Here are some of the key limitations of an offline backup that make an online backup a more viable option:
- If you choose to back up your Gmail account to a computer or an external hard drive, your emails will only be useable if you install a desktop email application and import the email archive file.
- Exporting and importing messages for offline storage is a potentially slow and error-prone process.
- Any damage to the hard drive will put the safety of the email backup at risk.
- Your backup will not be available online which will limit your ability to browse old emails on the go.
Due to these limitations, saving a backup of your Gmail email to another account is a more secure option. However, combining several backup methods is also beneficial in many cases.
Four ways to back up Gmail messages in 2023
1. Back up Gmail email and contacts to another account
You can transfer your emails to another account automatically or manually, but in this article, we focus on the automatic option because it's quicker, easier, and safer. (If you prefer to go down the long and error-prone manual route, you can use our instructions for a manual transfer.)
The easy way to back up your Gmail messages to another account is to use VaultMe, a secure app that automates email and contacts migration.
- VaultMe copies the folder structure of a Gmail account and retains email formatting, attachments, dates, and read/unread status
- VaultMe supports Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, AOL, and many other email providers
- The app can copy your Gmail contacts along with the emails
- The app is 100% automated (no manual work)
- VaultMe works online so you can close the browser while it is copying your content
- The setup is quick and easy
Here's how to use VaultMe as a Gmail backup tool:
- Go to https://app.vaultme.com.
- Connect your Gmail account as a source account.
- Connect any other email account (Outlook, Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc.) as a destination account.
- Start your migration. Feel free to close your browser! You will get an email when your migration finishes.
After you've transferred your Gmail messages to another account, you can set up email forwarding to back up any future emails.
2. Back up Gmail emails to a hard drive
Using this method, you can download an archive of your emails from Gmail to a hard drive.
To export Gmail emails:
- Sign in to your account and navigate to Google Takeout: https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout.
- Click "Deselect All".
- Scroll down, select "Mail" , and then click the "Next step" button at the bottom of the page.
- Choose "Send download link via email" and "Export once".
- Select the file type for your Google Takeout export. Zip tends to be the most widely supported format, so we recommend using that.
- Pick the size of the file. If the size of the archive exceeds the size you've selected, Google Takeout will create multiple files.
- Click "Create export".
- Wait for the archive to be delivered.
- Save the .mbox file(s) to your computer.
If you want to import your email archive after you've downloaded the file, you can use our instructions. We recommend Thunderbird because it's free and works on any platform, but you can use any email client that supports .mbox files.
3. Sync Gmail messages with an email app for offline access
To download Gmail messages to an email app:
- Connect your Gmail account to the app. Use Gmail's instructions if needed.
- Wait for the account to be fully synced with the app.
- Enable the offline mode in the app and check the results.
The limitations of this method include the following:
- If you delete the email app from your computer, your email backup will be deleted as well.
- Depending on the email application that you use, there is a risk that some of the emails will be downloaded only partially. If you go offline, you won't be able to view the contents of these emails or access their attachments.
- If you accidentally delete something while using your account online, these changes will be synced with the app, too, and the content will be lost anyway. The only workaround is to keep the app offline and do periodic syncs.
- If you need to back up your Gmail contacts, you'll have to do that separately.
4. Forward Gmail emails to another account
If you enable email forwarding in your Gmail account, a copy of each message that you get will be sent to another account.
To enable email forwarding in Gmail:
- Go to your Gmail account.
- In the top right corner, click the gear icon, then See all settings .
- Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
- Navigate to the "Forwarding" section and click Add a forwarding address.
- Add the email address you want to forward messages to.
- Click Next, then Proceed, then OK.
- Wait for a verification message to be received in the account that will receive copies of messages. Follow the instructions in the verification message.
- Go back to your Gmail account and refresh the page.
- Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
- Navigate to the "Forwarding" section and select Forward a copy of incoming mail to .
- Select "Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox".
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Frequently asked questions about backing up Gmail
Do emails need to be backed up?
Backing emails up is not an absolute necessity for everyone, but it is a good practice for people who rely on email for important communication. Having a backup copy means you will always be able to find important information even if you accidentally delete something.
How do I back up my Gmail for free?
You can download your emails to a hard drive or transfer them manually to another account. However, "free" methods tend to be unreliable and time-consuming.
Can I transfer all emails from one Gmail to another?
Yes, this can be done automatically using a third-party migration service or manually using a desktop email client. The choice of method depends on the resources that are available to you and the size of your email archive.
Whether you're preparing to close your Gmail account or simply looking for peace of mind, having a reliable backup strategy in place is wise. In this article, we've explored several methods for backing up your Gmail messages, ranging from transferring them to another account, storing them on a hard drive, syncing them with an email app for offline access to forwarding emails to another account.
Each method has its own merits and limitations, and the choice largely depends on your specific needs and preferences.
The easy way to back up Gmail to another account is VaultMe, an automated and secure app that is:
- Fast. VaultMe runs exclusively on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and uses Google's APIs so it connects directly to Google's servers and uses the most "threads" possible to copy your data. No home or office internet connection can match that.
- Secure. It uses Google's OAuth technology and never gets access to your password.
- Cost Effective. VaultMe saves you a significant amount of time compared to manual backup methods, which can take days or even weeks of your time.
The value of your time and the importance of your email data cannot be overstated. Whether you opt for VaultMe or another method, it's essential to take action to protect your valuable Gmail messages. So, assess your needs, choose the method that suits you best, and safeguard your Gmail emails.