How to backup your Gmail account

There are a number of reasons why you might want to back up your email account. Perhaps you are changing email providers or need a copy of your data to keep safe in the event of a cyber intrusion. Luckily, Google has a feature that makes this process easier, hidden in the Gmail account settings page.

Google Archive provides the ability to export and download various data about Google products, including Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Play, and most importantly, Gmail emails.

Gmail data can be exported using MBOX or JSON formats, and you can choose whether to export all emails or specific tagged content. Without further ado, let’s dive right into…

Do this

one. Login to your Google account.

2. On the Gmail page, click the profile icon and select the Google Account Management option.

3. The Google Account Dashboard will open to manage your Google product settings.

Click the Data & Privacy tab to open the data export page.

4. Scroll down to the “Data from apps and services you use” section and click on it.

5. Select the Upload your data option.

6. The Google Archiver page opens, showing all the Google products associated with your account.

Deselect all options and scroll down to the Mail option.

7. Data can be exported in two formats: MBOX or JSON.

  • MBOX files are used to access email using email clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • JSON is reserved for user preferences only.

eight. Select the All Mail Data Included option to view the exported data.

nine. Specify the required labels, if any, or leave the default settings and click OK.
Then scroll down the page.

ten. Click “Next Step” to view the export settings.

The export can be emailed (a link will be sent to download the file locally), uploaded to your Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box.

For Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box, you need to link the respective account to your Google account. This is done before the export starts.

Please note that e-mail export is valid for 7 days from the date of export.

eleven. The export can be done only once, or on a schedule every two months for one year, depending on your preference.

12. Export files can also be in .zip or .tgz formats. Select the desired compression format and move on to the next option.

thirteen. If you have a lot of data, the content can be divided based on the specified size. For example, if the export size is 10 GB and the split size is 2 GB. Then 5 download files will be created.

fourteen. Click “Create Export” or “Link Accounts” and create an export to start the process if Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box was selected above.

fifteen. Once the process is complete, an email will be sent to your Gmail account to download and manage the export.

sixteen. When you click Upload Files, you will be prompted to confirm your password before automatically uploading the exported content.

17. Unzip the archive to display the exported mailbox. Note that if everything was exported from Gmail, it will be one file. If multiple labels were selected, multiple files will be created.

eighteen. MBOX files can be opened with a desktop email client such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Mailbird.

Checking exported content

It’s always a good idea to double-check the exported data to make sure it contains the required email addresses. This can be done using Mozilla Thunderbird and a Feed account.

one. Open Thunderbird and click Feeds to create an empty Feed account.

2. Click “Account Settings” to match the exported files with Thunderbird.

3. In the Message Store section, click Browse and open the folder containing the MBOX files.

4. Click “Restart” when prompted to restart Thunderbird and access your email offline.

Backups are important not only for your movies, games, and apps, but also for your email.

Maybe you have an email containing important information for a certain account, or memories from an old correspondence. The loss of such data can be heartbreaking at best and catastrophic at worst.

Make regular backups. No email service provider is immune to data loss or theft. Doing due diligence may just keep you afloat. Network Attached Storage (NAS) and external drives are recommended for large scheduled backups of all your digital content.

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