Forward Gmail Messages to Another Email Address Automatically

Read your Gmail messages in your favorite email client

Illustration of a person adding a forwarding address on a computer screen

Lifewire / Jame Knoth

Gmail's web interface offers excellent organization, archiving, and search capabilities. Still, some email users prefer to read their Gmail in other apps or web interfaces that offer different features than Gmail or that are more familiar.

For web-based services such as Yahoo!, Gmail accomplishes this by allowing you to forward all the messages you receive to any other email address you choose. Using filters, you can even forward messages that meet certain criteria to external addresses, but the broad "forward-everything" approach is useful if you'd rather not take a piecemeal approach.

To use email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail, you can set up a Gmail account in your email client and retrieve mail directly, without having to forward any messages at all.

To forward incoming Gmail messages to another email address automatically:

  1. Click the Gear icon at the top right corner of the Gmail screen and select Settings from the drop-down menu that appears.

  2. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

  3. In the Forwarding box (the first one you'll see, right at the top), click Add a forwarding address.

  4. Enter the address to which you want to forward future Gmail emails in the box under Please enter a new forwarding email address.

    Gmail settings screen to add a forwarding address.
  5. Click Next then click Proceed in the pop-up window.

  6. Switch to the email client in which you want to receive the forwarded email. Open the confirmation email from Gmail Team with the subject Gmail Forwarding Confirmation at the address to which you are forwarding.

  7. Highlight and copy the eight-part code under Confirmation code.

  8. Switch to Gmail in your browser.

  9. Paste the eight-part confirmation code in the Confirmation code field in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

  10. Click Verify.

  11. Select Forward a copy of incoming mail and enter the email address you just set up. 

  12. Click the field next to the email address to tell Gmail what to do with email that's been received and forwarded to the address you've chosen. Select an option from the drop-down menu that appears. Whichever you choose, you'll receive a copy of the email at the address you selected in previous steps.

    • Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox instructs Gmail to leave the message in your Gmail Inbox as new and unread.
    • Mark Gmail's copy as read leaves the messages in the Gmail inbox but marks them as read.
    • Archive Gmail's copy — probably the most useful setting — instructs Gmail to mark forwarded messages as read, remove them from the Inbox, and keep them in the archive for later search and retrieval.
    • Delete Gmail's copy allows the messages to move to the Trash after they have been forwarded. Trashed messages are deleted automatically after 30 days. This is not recommended, however; keeping your email in Gmail can serve as an easy way to back it all up. Deleted an important email in your target app? You'll still have a copy safe and sound in Gmail.
  13. Click Save Changes.

From now on, all the email messages that arrive at your Gmail account — minus the spam — is copied over to the account you specified.

Disabling Gmail Forwarding

To turn off automatic forwarding of your Gmail to another service, simply reverse the steps you took above. Specifically:

  1. Open Gmail.

  2. Click Settings.

  3. Select Settings.

  4. Choose Forwarding and POP/IMAP.

  5. Select Disable forwarding in the Forwarding box.

  6. Choose Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

Your changes will take effect immediately.