How to Export Your Emails From Gmail as Mbox Files

Gmail messages export into a single downloadable archive

The emails in your Gmail account are available for download using IMAP and POP, but downloading all of your messages as a single mbox file suitable for either offline archiving or uploading to an mbox-compatible email client.

How a Gmail Archive Works

When an archive is created by using one of these options, Google emails you a link to the archive location. Depending on the amount of information in your account, this process could take a few minutes or several hours. Many get the link to the archive the same day.

The email storage format used to organize email messages is a single text file called an mbox file. The mbox file saves messages in a concentrated format in which each message is stored after another, starting with the From header.

This format was originally used by Unix hosts but is now supported by other email applications, including Outlook and Apple Mail.

How to Export Your Emails from Gmail as mbox Files

To download a copy of the messages in your Gmail account in the mbox file format:

  1. To download specific messages, apply a label to those messages. For example, create a label titled messages to download and apply it to the messages you want to download.

  2. Select Select None.

    Gmail only stores emails, it cannot store the other data on the export screen.

    Select None button in Download your data page in Google Account
  3. Scroll to Mail, select the gray X to the right, then:

    • To download only certain messages, select All Mail.
    • Check Select Labels.
    • Check the labels that tag the emails you want to download.
    All mail button toggle on Download your data page in Google Account
  4. Select Next.

    Next button on Download your data page in Google Account
  5. Do not change the file type, then select Create Archive.

    Create Archive button in Download your data page on Google Account
  6. A zip file transmits to your selected delivery method (by default, you will get an email with a link to download the zip).