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How to Back Up All Your Gmail Emails (Complete Guide)

It’s
never been more important to back up Gmail emails. With hackers constantly
looking for account weaknesses, it’s possible that your email account could
become compromised. Messages could be lost. You might even lose access to your
Gmail account. If that happens, you’ll want to have a good Gmail backup.

Many of us keep business information in our Gmail email
accounts. Losing that information could be quite costly. That’s why it’s
important to make sure that data isn’t lost.

There
are several ways to back up Gmail emails, but many Gmail users don’t understand
what to do. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to back up Gmail. We’ll explain
how to use the Google backup utility (Google Takeout) to back up your Gmail. We’ll
also discuss a few third-party Gmail backup utilities.

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1. Why You Need Gmail Backups

Your Gmail contains important business
information. Customers and future customers use it to contact you. It may even
contain sensitive project information.

But
what if your email messages were lost or compromised?

The
truth is that email accounts and other online accounts are hacked into all the
time. The news is filled with accounts of data breaches and other security
failures. If someone else had access to your email account, it’s possible you
could lose some of those important business communications.

While
setting up strong
Gmail passwords
can help reduce the chances that a hacker will get into
your email, no system is foolproof.  In a
worst-case scenario, you may even need to delete your Gmail account if it is
compromised. For guidance on how to do that, follow the steps in this tutorial:

And
of course, there’s user error. Nobody likes to think about it, but data is
often lost when a user accidentally deletes a Gmail message. If you act
quickly, you may be able to restore a deleted message. But if some time has passed
and you’ve got no Gmail backup system in place, you may have lost that message
forever. For instructions on how to retrieve deleted Gmails review the tutorial, How
to Retrieve Your Deleted (Or Archived) Emails in Gmail
.

Having
up-to-date Gmail backups allows you to restore your lost emails should anything
ever happen to your Gmail account. There are several methods you can use to
back up your Gmail account.

2. How to Backup Gmail Emails With Google Takeout

Google Takeout creates a copy of your entire Google Account, including your Gmail data. To use it, here’s what to do:

1.
Start by typing https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout
in your browser’s Address field. If
you’re not signed into your Google account, you must sign in before you can use
the utility. If you’re signed in, the Google
Takeout
screen appears:

Google Takeout screen for Gmail email backup
Use Google Takeout for Gmail email backups

2.
Use the scroll bar on the right of the screen to view the list of data that you
can back up with the utility:

Google data you can back up with Google Takeout
To back up your Gmail account make sure the slider is to the right.

You’ll see all the various types of data you can access with your Google account.

3. Slide the Gmail slider (on the right of the
screen) to the right to back up your Gmail account. If you click the down arrow
to the left of the slider, the screen expands and you can further refine which
parts of your Gmail you want to back up: 

Choose which Gmail labels to back up
Back up specific Gmail labels.

Choose one of the following options: 

  • Click the toggle next to Include all your mail to back up all your Gmail.
  • Click the toggle button next to Select labels to bring up a screen that
    lets you choose which labels (folders) you want to back up. 

 4. When you’ve
finished selecting data types to back up, click the Next button on the lower left of the screen. The Customize archive format screen
displays:

Define your Gmail backup archive format
Choose Gmail backup archive formats.

Use this screen to define the following characteristics of your archive:

  • File type. The default file type for your archive file is .zip. Click the down arrow to choose the .tgz file type. (This file type may be hard for most users to open.)
  • Archive size. The maximum file archive size is 50GB. Click the down arrow to choose one of the following file sizes: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 10GB, 50GB. 
  • Delivery
    method.
    This is how you’ll get your archived data. Click the down arrow to
    choose between receiving an email download link, a file on Google Drive, a file
    on Dropbox, or a file on OneDrive.

Caution: Archives stored on Google Drive count against the Google storage quota. If your
archive is particularly large, you may want to choose another means of
receiving it.

 5.
When you’re finished selecting your archive format options, click the Create Archive button in the lower left
corner.

You’ll
see a notice on the next screen that your archive is being prepared. (The
archive process isn’t instantaneous.) When your archive is ready, you’ll be
notified of the archive’s location through email. Here’s what the email might
look like: 

Gmail backup archive email
An email notifies you that your Gmail backup is ready for review.

Note: Your email may vary, depending on which delivery method option you chose.

6.
Follow the instructions in the email to access your Gmail archive. (In the
example above, I would click the Download
archive
button.)

3. Other Methods to Create a Gmail Backup

While
the Google Backup Utility is pretty straight-forward, you do have to remember
to create the Gmail archive. A more automated way to back up your Gmail email
is to use a desktop client such as Microsoft Outlook, Thunderbird (iOS), or
Apple Mail. 

Note: For this example,
I’ll use Outlook. If your desktop client is different, the steps you follow
might be slightly different.

Set
your desktop client up so that it retrieves messages from Gmail onto your
computer through IMAP protocol. Here’s what to do:  

Step 1. Turn Your IMAP Access On

1.
Go to Settings > Settings > Forwarding
and POP/IMAP
in Gmail to make sure that IMAP is turned on. Your screen
should look like this:

Enable IMAP access
Go to the Gmail Settings to enable IMAP access.

If
IMAP isn’t enabled, click the Enable
IMAP
toggle.

2. Google
considers most desktop email apps to be less secure. So, you’ll have to change
the security settings in your Google account so that it’ll give you your
desktop email client access to your Gmail account. To start, go to https://myaccount.google.com/. You’ll
see the My Account screen:

Google My Account screen
Use the My Account screen to give your desktop email access to your Gmail emails.

3.
Select Apps with account access. The
Sign-in & security screen
appears. Scroll down on the Sign-in
& security
screen to the Allow
less secure apps
: option:

Allow less secure apps Google access
Google considers most other email systems to be less secure. You’ll need to slide the slider to the right.

Slide
the toggle to the right so that your desktop email client can access your Gmail
account.

Step 2. Add Your Gmail Account to Your Desktop Email
Client

Your
next step is to add your Gmail account to your desktop email client. The exact
process you’ll use to do this varies depending on your desktop email client.

1. For
MS-Outlook, click File. When the Account Information screen appears, click the Add Account button:

MS Outlook Add Account button
Click the Add Account button to give Outlook access to your Gmail messages.

2. You’ll
be prompted to enter the Gmail account and password you want to add to Outlook.
Type the information and click the Connect
button. The following prompt displays:

Account setup complete
You have given Outlook access to your Gmail messages.

3. Click OK to
finish connecting your Gmail account to your desktop account. Your accounts are
connected. 

You’ll
receive an email message with the subject line: Microsoft
Outlook Test Message
in your Outlook inbox. In your Gmail inbox, you’ll get
the same message. 

From this point forward, messages sent to your Gmail address
will also be sent to MS Outlook. Even if you were to lose access to your Gmail
account, you can still access your Gmail messages through Outlook. Remember though, if you delete a message from your Gmail account, it will be removed from your Outlook inbox as well.

Caution: Filters and
other organizational tools you’ve applied in your Gmail inbox may not carry
forward to your desktop email system. 

4. Third-Party Gmail Backup Utilities

Yet another method of backing up your Gmail messages is to
use a third-party backup utility. Here are four popular options:

UpSafe Gmail Backup Utility
UpSafe Gmail backup utility is free and easy to use. 

UpSafe is a free and
easy-to-use Windows Gmail backup that allows you to quickly back up your Gmail
files on your hard drive. A nice security feature of this utility is that the
app never has access to your Google login credentials.  Backups, however, aren’t automatic. So, you
must remember to back up your Gmail account regularly.

2. Gmvault Backup

Gmvault Gmail Backup utility
The Gmvault backup utility works on a large number of platforms.

Use GMvault on Windows,
Mac, OSX, or Linux machines. This popular open source app lets you schedule
backups to run automatically, which is nice since you don’t have to worry about
forgetting to back up your Gmail. It’s also a good tool for moving email from
one account to another. It’s command-line based, meaning there’s no graphic
interface. But you can accomplish a lot by learning a few simple commands.

3. Spinbackup

Spinbackup Gmail backup utility
The Spinbackup Gmail utility offers cloud-based backup features.

Spinbackup combines cloud-based backup
features and cybersecurity features in a single package. If your business needs
both options, this single tool might be a good choice. It allows you to set up
automated backups of not only your Gmail messages, but any data on your Google
Drive, including your contacts and your calendar. Pricing varies depending on your
needs and the number of users.

4. SysTools Gmail
Backup

SysTools Gmail Backup
SysTools specializes in backup utilities and data recovery.

SysTools
offers a wide variety of backup utilities and data recovery services, including
cloud backup utilities
for Gmail
and Google Apps. Both a Windows and Mac version of the Gmail
Backup utility are available. Depending on which operating system you use, your
messages can be saved in a variety of formats. You can also apply a filter to
choose which messages get backed up.

5. Make Gmail Backups a Part of Your Workflow

Losing
Gmail messages could be costly. Your Gmail backups should be a regular part of
your workflow. Here are some best Gmail Backup best practices to help guide
you:

  1. Continue
    to follow good Gmail security practices.
    While having a Gmail backup system
    in place may ensure that you don’t lose important email messages, the goal is
    still to keep your account as secure as possible. Make sure that the Gmail
    passwords you use are secure
    and take advantage of other Gmail online security
    measures as well.
  2. Automatic
    backups vs manual backups.
    While some Gmail backup utilities allow you to
    schedule a regular automatic backup, others do not. Depending on the volume of email
    you receive, your backup frequency may vary–the more messages you receive, the
    more often you need to back up your Gmail. Understand the backup system you’re
    using. If your utility doesn’t allow you to schedule routine backups, set aside
    a regular time to back up your Gmail messages manually.
  3. Check backup files regularly. Even if your backup utility runs automatically,
    you should still review your backup files from time to time to make sure the
    utility is running correctly. If you notice the backup files aren’t there or
    that backup files are 0 bytes in size, re-read your backup utility
    documentation or contact the backup software support team to resolve the issue.
  4. Monitor your backup storage space. Be aware of how much storage you’ve got for
    your backup folders. If you’re close to exceeding your storage limit, consider storing
    older backup files in another location or removing them. (Caution: If you delete older backup files, you may not be able to recover
    them if you need them later.) 

Conclusion

If
you don’t back up Gmail emails regularly, you’re at risk of losing your
information. Now that you know how to back up Gmail, you can reduce the chance
of data loss by backing your Gmail up.

Use
the steps we’ve just shown you to make regular Gmail backups.