How to download emails from Gmail

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you have an important email, you may decide that you want to create a backup copy of it. This can be useful if you think you will lose access to your work Gmail account, plan to delete all emails from the account, or need to attach the email to another email. So how do you download Gmail emails for this purpose? That is what this article will discuss.


This can only be done on the Gmail desktop. Open the email in question and click on the Plus button (represented by the three vertical dots). Then select Download message. It will then be downloaded as an EML file, which can only be opened in a local email client, such as Outlook, Thunderbird, iOS Mail, or macOS Mail.


How to download emails from Gmail

Google does not currently offer the email download feature in its mobile app. So you have to put down your phone and head to a desktop machine to log into your Gmail account.

Find the email you want to download and open it. Then look to the far right and click on the Plus link, which are the three vertical points. There, one of the options will say Download message. Select that.

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It will then be downloaded to your computer as an EML file.

download emails from gmail

If you have more than one email to download, you will need to repeat this process for each one. Currently, Gmail does not allow you to download more than one email at the same time. A workaround is to use IMAP to download all emails from the Gmail account to a local email client. Then delete the ones you don’t need to keep.

How to open downloaded Gmail emails

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Once you’ve downloaded an email from Gmail, how do you reopen it?

There is no way to upload them to a new Gmail account except through IMAP. Therefore, you will need a local email client to view these downloaded EML files. If you have an Apple device, for example, you probably already have iOS Mail or macOS Mail installed. If you have a Windows device, Outlook or Thunderbird will be your most likely options.

Can Gmail emails be downloaded in any format other than EML?

No, but when you have the file on your computer, you can change the file format yourself, such as TXT. But email is likely to be a mess, with lots of metadata and HTML included as well.

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