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 people prefer to read their messages in other apps or web interfaces that are more familiar or offer different features. For web-based services like 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 and retrieve messages directly, without having to forward them.

How to Forward Gmail Messages to Another Email Client

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

    Screenshot of Gmail's Settings option
  2. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

    Screenshot of Gmail's Forwarding and POP/IMAP settings
  3. In the Forwarding box, click Add a forwarding address.

  4. Enter the email address you want to forward future Gmail messages to.

    Gmail settings screen to add a forwarding address.
  5. Select Proceed in the pop-up window, then press OK. Gmail will send a confirmation email to the address you want to forward to. Open it and click the link to confirm the request.

  6. Alternatively, you can copy the confirmation code and paste it into the Confirmation code field in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab in Gmail, then press the Verify button.

    Screenshot of Gmail's forwarding confirmation box
  7. Select Forward a copy of incoming mail and enter the email address you just set up. 

  8. Click the field next to the email address to tell Gmail what to do with forwarded messages. Select one of the following options from the drop-down menu.

    • Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox instructs Gmail to leave the original message in your Gmail inbox as new and unread.
    • Mark Gmail's copy as read leaves messages in the Gmail inbox but marks them as read.
    • Archive Gmail's copy is probably the most useful setting and it 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 folder after they are forwarded. Trashed messages are deleted automatically after 30 days. This is not recommended, as keeping your messages in Gmail is an easy way to back it all up.

    Whichever option you choose, you'll receive a copy of the email at the address you selected in previous steps.

  9. Select Save Changes.

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

How to Disable Gmail Forwarding

To turn off automatic forwarding, reverse the steps you took above.

  1. Click the Gear icon and select Settings.

  2. Under the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, select Disable forwarding.

  3. Select Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.