How to Access Gmail Offline in Your Browser

Read your email in Chrome without an Internet connection

Make sure "Enable Offline Mail for this computer" is selected

Lifewire / Heinz Tschabitscher

Gmail can be used without an internet connection if you enable the Gmail Offline feature.

Gmail Offline is handled entirely in the Chrome web browser, letting you search through, read, delete, label, and even respond to email without an internet connection, like if you're on a plane, in a tunnel, or camping out away from cell phone service.

Once your computer connects to a working network, any emails you've queued up to send, will be sent, and new emails will be downloaded or changed just as you requested them to be when offline.

How to Enable Gmail Offline

It's pretty simple to configure Gmail Offline but it's only available through the Google Chrome web browser, which works with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebooks.

You can't just open Gmail once you're offline and expect that to work. You have to set it up while you have an active internet connection. Then, whenever you lose the connection, you can be confident that offline Gmail will work.

  1. To start, open Chrome, and sign in to your Gmail account.

  2. From your inbox, select the gear icon in the upper right to open the Settings menu.

    Gmail inbox
  3. Choose Settings from that menu.

    Gmail settings menu
  4. You'll arrive in Chrome's Settings tab. Across the top of your window, you'll see different category tabs. Locate and select Offline.

  5. There won't be much on the Offline page at first. Turn your attention to the checkbox labeled Enable offline mail, and check it.

    Gmail offline settings
  6. Several more options will populate the window, allowing you to control how Gmail handles your offline settings.

    First, take a look at Sync settings, and choose how long you want Gmail to store your offline mail and whether or not you want it to download attachments.

  7. Next, under Security, pick whether you want Gmail to erase your offline mail when you sign out of your Google account.

    Enable offline mode in Gmail
  8. When you're happy with your settings, press Save Changes. You can always revisit this screen to modify your settings at a later date.

On a Shared or Public Computer? Delete the Cache

Gmail Offline is clearly very beneficial, and can even be useful temporarily. However, someone else can potentially have access to your entire Gmail account if your computer is left unattended.

Make sure you delete the offline Gmail cache when you're done using Gmail on a public computer.

How to Use Gmail Offline Without Chrome

To access Gmail offline without Google Chrome, you can use an email client. When an email program is installed with the proper SMTP and POP3 or IMAP server settings configured, all your messages are downloaded to your computer.

Since they're no longer being pulled from Gmail's servers, you can read, search, and queue new Gmail messages even while offline.