Migrate email from Google Workspace to Gmail in three ways

Want to switch from Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) to Gmail and keep all of your emails? Since Google is yet to offer the ability to downgrade without changing your email address, you'd need to create a new email account and move your email history there.

This how-to article explains the three options for transferring your Google Workspace email to a basic Gmail account: one automatic and two manual. Note that all methods outlined in this article can only be used if you are the sole owner of the Google Workspace account.

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If you want to change your Gmail business account to personal with the least amount of effort, you should consider migrating your email automatically.

VaultMe is an automated online application that will migrate your Google business email with correct dates, labels, attachments, and formatting to a Gmail account. It involves zero manual work, and the results are quick and precise.

Schematic representation of Google Workspace (G Suite) to Gmail migrations using VaultMe
Migrating from Google Workspace (G Suite) to Gmail automatically using VaultMe

Here is why VaultMe is the recommended migration option:

  • VaultMe will save the organization of your Google Workspace email, including all custom labels
  • VaultMe can copy not only your emails but also your contacts organized just like you have them in Google Workspace
  • In addition to your email and address book, VaultMe can copy your Drive files and calendars
  • The app is automated and works in a browser (no software will need to be installed)
  • VaultMe's online setup is free and only takes a couple of minutes

To copy your emails using VaultMe, simply navigate to the app, connect your two accounts, select what content you want to copy, and start your automagic migration.

With this method, email messages that have custom labels will not be transferred. Only emails stored in "Inbox" will be imported.

Here's how you can import your Google Workspace email to Gmail:

  1. Go to Gmail.
  2. Click the "Settings" icon in the top upper corner, then "See all settings".
  3. Click the "Account and Import" tab or "Accounts" tab.
  4. Click "Import mail and contacts".
  5. Connect your Google Workspace account using Gmail's instructions in a pop-up window.
    The menu for connecting a Google Workspace account to a Gmail account
    Importing Google Workspace email to Gmail, Step 4: Signing in.
  6. Click "Start Import".

Note that Gmail will automatically forward all messages sent to your Google Workspace account for 30 days after you import the mail. If you no longer want your Gmail account to keep importing new mail, you can stop the import.

This approach has limitations that will be outlined below. To prevent data loss, consider these limitations carefully before you start moving your email and back up any critical data in your Google Workspace account.

For this email migration method, you need to have an email application such as Thunderbird installed on your computer.

Here's how you can transfer Gmail email using a desktop email app:

  1. Export your emails from Google Workspace using Google Takeout.
    1. Go to Google Takeout.
    2. Click "Deselect All", select "Mail", and click the "Next" button at the bottom of the page.
      The menu for including Gmail in the Google Takeout archive
      How to include only Gmail in the Google Takeout export
    3. Select "Export once", then select ".zip", and pick the size of the file. If the size of the archive exceeds the size you've selected, Google Takeout will create multiple files.
    4. Click "Create export".
    5. Wait for the archive to be sent to you. Remember that depending on the size of your archive, the process may take hours or even days.
      The menu showing the progress of generating a Google Takeout export
      Generating the Google Takeout Archive
    6. Save the .mbox file(s) to your hard drive.
  2. Import your emails into the new account using an email app that supports .mbox.

    If you are using Thunderbird, first, install the "ImportExportTools" add-on and restart the application.

    To import your archive:

    1. Make sure your Gmail account is connected and can send and receive mail.
    2. Select "Import".
    3. Select the .mbox file containing your Google Takeout export.
    4. Wait for the emails to be uploaded to the app. This may take hours or days.

Consider the following before you manually transfer your Google Workspace emails to a Gmail account:

  • The label organization of your account may be affected by the manual transfer.
  • To create a temporary copy of your email archive using a desktop email program, you will need sufficient hard disk storage. Before starting the process, ensure that your computer has enough free storage space.
  • If your Google Workspace account contains a large volume of emails and labels, the transfer process may extend over several days or even weeks. This method is not recommended for accounts having more than 10,000 items or exceeding 10 GB of storage. However, even smaller accounts might require several days for full synchronization.
  • Your computer must remain powered on while the emails are being transferred. Any disruptions in power supply or internet connectivity could impact the accuracy of the results. The copying process may also lead to reduced computer performance, so your ability to use it while the migration is in progress may be limited.

Switching from a Google Workspace account to a basic Gmail email address can be a significant step. There are several things you can do after you migrate your email to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Inform your contacts about your new email address. You can do that by enabling an auto-response in your Google Workspace account. You should also contact important organizations, such as your workplace or school, to update your email address in their records.
  2. Update the email address associated with your online accounts, including social media, online shopping, banking, and subscription services.
  3. Set up email forwarding from your old Google Workspace address to your new Gmail account. This way, you won't miss important emails sent to your old address during the transition period. But remember that after you close your Google Workspace account, the forwarding rules will no longer work.

Remember that the specific steps you need to take may vary depending on your unique situation. Careful planning and proper communication with your contacts will help ensure a seamless transition.

If you want to change your Google business account to personal or transfer your Google business account to another email address while keeping all old emails, you need to create a new personal Gmail account and migrate your emails there. There are three email migration options to consider.

The first and recommended method is using VaultMe, an online application that automates the migration process, preserving dates, labels, attachments, and formatting. VaultMe can also transfer contacts, Drive files, and calendars. It's a quick and precise solution that works in a browser.

The second option involves using Gmail's "Import mail and contacts" function. This method has limitations, as it won't transfer emails with custom labels.

The remaining option is a manual method that requires a desktop email application like Thunderbird. You'll need to export your emails from Google Workspace using Google Takeout, save the .mbox file(s) to your hard drive, and then import them into your Gmail account using an email app. This method may have drawbacks, including potential label organization issues, the need for sufficient storage space, and the possibility of a time-consuming process, especially for large accounts.

When choosing a migration method, it's important to consider the limitations of manual methods. VaultMe offers a more efficient and hassle-free solution for transferring your email from Google Workspace to Gmail.