How to Export Your Emails From Gmail as mbox Files

7 Easy Steps

Copying mail from one Gmail account to another

All the emails in your Gmail account are available for download via IMAP and POP. Now, Gmail allows you to export and back up your Gmail data without needing to turn to third-party software and arcane workarounds—by downloading the data as mbox files. Doing so is dead-simple: Just head to Google’s data download page, sign into your account, and look for the new Gmail entries after clicking Create an archive.

When your archive is created by using one of these options, Google will email you a link to its location. Depending on the amount of information in your account, this process could take a few minutes or several hours. Most people get the link to their archive the same day that they request it.

The email storage format used for organizing email messages is a single text file called an mbox file. It saves messages in a concentrated format in which each message is stored after another, starting with the From header; originally used by Unix hosts but 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 messages in your Gmail account in the mbox file format (which can be easily be used to create an archive to keep for your records or use the data in another service):.

  1. If you only want to download select message(s), start in your Google Mail by applying a label, for example, "messages to download," to only the message(s) you want to download.

  2. Click Select None (Thunderbird can only store your emails, it cannot store this other data).

    Select None button in Download your data page in Google Account
  3. Scroll down to Mail, click on the gray X to the right

    • If you want to download only certain messages, click 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. Click Next.

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

    Create Archive button in Download your data page on Google Account
  6. The zip file will be sent via your selected delivery method (by default, you will get an email with a link to download the zip). It may not be instant; the more emails you are downloading, the longer it will take to create your archive