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 of it. This can be helpful if you think you’re going to lose access to the work Gmail account, if you plan to delete all emails in the account, or if you need to attach the email to another email. So how do you download emails from Gmail for this purpose? That’s what this article will discuss.


This can only be done on the desktop Gmail. Open the email in question, and click the More button (signified by the three vertical dots). Then select Download message. It will then download 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 currently doesn’t offer the email downloading feature on their mobile app. So you need to put down your phone and head to a desktop machine to log into your Gmail account.

Locate the email you want to download and open it. Then look to the far-right and click the More link, which is the three vertical dots. There, one of the options will say Download message. Select that.

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It will then download to your computer as an EML file.

download emails from gmail

Mark O’Neill / Android Authority

If you have more than one email to download, you’ll need to repeat this process for each one. Gmail currently doesn’t let you download more than one email at the same time. One workaround is to use IMAP to download all emails in 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 have downloaded an email from Gmail, how do you reopen it?

There’s no way to upload them to a new Gmail account, except via IMAP. So you’ll need a local email client to view these downloaded EML files. If you have an Apple device, for example, you’ll likely have iOS Mail or macOS Mail already installed. If you have a Windows device, then Outlook or Thunderbird are going to be your likely options.

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

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

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