Export All Email from Gmail

Previously, I wrote about a cool app called Gmail Backup that let you plug in your Google credentials and watch as all your emails would be downloaded and backed up on your local computer.

The only problem with that is the website no longer exists and neither does the program! Not really sure what happened to them, but if you want to export all your Gmail emails to some local storage device, you’ll have to do it another way.

One of the easiest solutions is to download all your Gmail emails to an email client such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. In order to do this, you first have to setup your Gmail account properly.

Enable POP3 or IMAP Access

First, go to your Gmail account and click on the Settings button at the top right. Now click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

export gmail emails

Now depending on the email client you are using, you can choose to enable POP, IMAP or both. If you want to download all of your emails, make sure to choose the Enable POP for all mail option.

Note that you can read the full instructions on how to setup your email client by clicking on the Configuration instructions link right below the IMAP Access section.

Move Email to Inbox

Secondly, depending on which client you are using, you may have to temporarily move all your archived emails back into the Inbox so that they can be downloaded by the email client.

The nice thing about Gmail is that this is not really hard to do and it’s not hard to re-archive everything after the mail has been downloaded.

Log into your Gmail account and click on All Mail in the left hand column. Now click on the All link next to the Select option and you’ll see a new option to select all the email in your account from the very beginning.

download emails from gmail

Go ahead and click on Select all XYZ conversations in All Mail. Now simply click on the Move to Inbox button. This will move everything to the Inbox and will retain all your labels, so don’t worry about that.

Finally, you’ll go ahead and follow the instructions to setup Gmail with Outlook or Thunderbird and your emails should begin downloading. Depending on how many emails you have, it can take quite a while for everything to get downloaded.

Also, be sure to check the box to Leave a copy of the message on the server. You don’t want to download the emails and have them deleted from Gmail. If you have any questions, post a comment here!

Comments [11]

  1. Is there a way to just get a particular label (found set) of email and export it as a spread sheet or tab delimited file?

  2. I found this tool: improffice.com/emailtransfer and it did the trick.

    It also transferred my old email to my new account keeping the labels, which wasn't possible with the method of the original post.

  3. I'd like to only export emails from a certain contact/contacts. Can this be done? If so, how?


  4. Hey, Aseem.

    The link and website to Gmail-Backup seems to be functioning now. I have downloaded, but I have not yet run the app, as I am going to try on a computer I don’t really care about, just in case.


  5. I followed your instructions, have 172,504 emails in my inbox now and when I try downloading everything to my local computer using Thunderbird, I can only get 251 emails and they're coming from one email address only.

    My only idea is that once it finishes downloading everything from that address, it will start downloading from another one.

    The only problem is that I don't want to click each time to get 250 emails downloaded.

    Any thoughts on this?

    In case it's not possible, how do I rollback the action of moving all my emails to the inbox, I don't want to lose any of them and I just tested that if I delete an email, it gets deleted from the source as well.


  6. Ah don't worry, I already figured it out ;)

  7. Thanks mate, i did use the settings on gmail and got all my mail transfered via pop.

    You seem to have good knowledge with mailing servers, all the best, keep posting tips.

  8. Sergio,
    How did you do this? This has been the most frustrating experrience!! I just want to download all my emails to my desktop mail client and delete everything from Gmail – so I know I need POP access to achieve this.. But moving forward I want to use IMAP as I need to be able to have my email activity synced on all my devices. So I just want to do some house cleaning really…and free up my Gmail storage

  9. an email I wanted to send somehow ended up on my archive and I can’t find a way to get it out of “all mail” into e-mail. Puzzled.

  10. When I download to outlook, the date in received date is todays date not the date on which the email was received, how do I fix this?

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