How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails to Your Computer

Apr 5, 2022 - 10 Comments

How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails

Do you use Gmail as your preferred email service? If so, do you want to save a copy of all the emails you have received and sent over Gmail up until this date, locally to your computer, device, or hard drive? Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to save a backup of all your emails from Gmail, and you can do this from any device, whether it’s a Mac, Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android.

All the emails that you send and receive via Gmail are securely stored on Google’s cloud servers. However, if your account gets compromised or inaccessible for whatever reason, you could lose access to all the emails and potentially even important personal and business conversations that you’ve made. You could also lose your valuable contacts and their email addresses because of this. This is why simply keeping a backup of your Gmail data could come in handy if you ever end up in such a situation, or if you’re just the type of person who likes to have local backup of their data instead of just relying on the cloud services.

Read along and we’ll be covering how you can save a backup of all your Gmail emails.

How to Save a Local Backup of All Gmail Emails to Your Computer Storage

We’ll bee making use of Google Takeout to get a copy of all your emails from Gmail. It doesn’t matter what device you use, as long as you have access to a web browser. Simply follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Head over to and sign in with your Google account. Next, you’ll need to click on the “Deselect all” option located right at the top. This is because your data from other Google services are selected too.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails
  2. Now, scroll down and check the box next to “Mail”. Then, click on “All Mail data included” to customize the data you want to download.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails
  3. Here, you can either choose to get a copy of all the emails or select specific folders as you prefer. Once you’re done with the selection, click “OK” at the bottom.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails
  4. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on “Next step” as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails
  5. Now, you’ll be able to select the delivery method. By default, you’ll get a download link to your Gmail data via email. In addition to that, you can choose the maximum size for the downloadable file, after which it’ll be split into multiple files. Click on “Create export” when you’re ready.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails
  6. Now, you just need to wait until the file is ready. This could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on how large your Gmail data is. However, you’ll receive an email when the export is done.

    How to Save a Backup of All Gmail Emails

There you go. Now you’ve learned how to save a local backup of all your emails in Gmail. That wasn’t too hard, right?

Keep in mind that the downloadable file will be in a compressed ZIP format. You’ll need to extract it first before you’re able to access all the data. If you are using a Mac you can easily open the zip file by double-clicking on it within the Finder, whereas if you’re using Safari on your iPhone or iPad to download this Gmail data, you can use the Files app to unzip the file. Windows users should be able to unzip directly in the Windows Explorer.

Likewise, if you take advantage of other Google services like YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play, etc., you can grab a copy of your data stored on these platforms in an identical way.

Another way to back up your emails would be by setting up automatic forwarding for your Gmail account. As the name suggests, this will automatically forward all the incoming emails to a different address. However, you can only back up the emails you’ve received using this method and not the ones you send.

We hope you were able to get a copy of all the emails you’ve sent and received on your Gmail account. What are your overall thoughts on using Google Takeout to back up your data locally to your computer or device? Share your valuable opinions and experiences in the comments section down below, and if you have an alternate method, let us know that too.


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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Tips & Tricks


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  1. Christina Bruton says:

    Old account has two step verification I don’t have my cell phone that’s linked to the account I know my password but without my cell phone to receive the code I cannot log in. If Google can f****ing help me out at very appreciate it thanks.

    • Paul says:

      You need to either use the cell phone linked to the account for two factor authentication, or use the backup codes that are offered when setting up two-factor authentication.

      I am not aware of any other method to get around those requirements, since two-factor authentication is intended to offer more advanced security.

  2. tagMacher says:

    Easier is to setup IMAP access with a mail client such as Thunderbird from Mozilla and set it to store email on local machine or move essential stuff to a local folder. Three are plugins for address book and calendar as well.

  3. Steven says:

    The problem with this approach is if file is big, it keeps getting reset and it doesn’t retains folder structure while opening mbox file. I use a nice professional backup tool named Mail Backup X. It’s feature rich and allows me to auto clean up older mails after backup is completed. Give it a try!

  4. Anthony Cook says:

    Goodness me, that tooķ.a long while to sort out but i did it. Thsnk God for Google’s patience.

  5. Perry Kahai says:

    If one uses an Email client to read messages, just copy or move the messages to a local folder. There, they will be available to view as needed, something that might be difficult to do with a downloaded zip file.

  6. Guy says:

    What format are the emails in once you unzip them? Will Mac Mail be able to reset them?


  7. Greg says:

    What you don’t advise is if you want to restore or find a particular email etc, what are the steps and what is the interface you can view backed up emails etc. The article only seems to give the start of the process and not cover the full cycle of use.

  8. Bob says:

    Good article thanks. Here’s another simple method, which can accommodate all emails in and out. Open a second gmail account. Set both up on an email client. Copy from one to the other. This is also useful for POP3 backup. That’s what I use it for.

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