Move or Copy Mail From One Gmail Account to Another

Two different approaches trade comprehensiveness for ease-of-use

Gmail supports two primary methods of migrating emails between separate Gmail accounts: Using Gmail itself to fetch messages or move them manually within an email program like Outlook.

When you move messages manually in an email program, you'll preserve your setup of labels. When you let Gmail copy the messages for you, you'll lose them without labels but also the hassle of migrating messages by hand.

To proceed, you'll complete three actions:

  1. Configure your old Gmail account for POP access
  2. Configure your new Gmail account to retrieve the old messages
  3. Add your old account's credentials to your new account
Person adding a mail account to Gmail
Lifewire / Emilie Dunphy 

How to Configure POP Access for Your Old Account

Your old account must be configured to allow access using Post Office Protocol. If it's already set up, make sure all email programs or services you have configured to download mail from your old Gmail account using POP are closed or set not to check mail automatically. Then skip to the next section.

If you haven't yet activated POP:

  1. From your Gmail account, click the Settings gear icon (⚙️) in the accounts toolbar.

  2. Select Settings.

    Gmail Settings window in Chrome web browser showing Settings gear
  3. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.

  4. In the POP Download section, select Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded) as the status.

    Gmail settings in Chrome browser showing Enable POP for all mail option

    You do not have to move messages to the old account's inbox for the new account to pick them up. Archived mail will be fetched and copied to the new account automatically.

  5. From the When messages are accessed with POP step, select archive Gmail's copy from the drop-down menu to have your old account's inbox cleared; select delete Gmail's copy instead to move mail instead of copying it. You can also select keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox to do nothing with the original message after it has been forwarded or mark Gmail's copy as read to leave the original email in the Inbox and mark it as read so you can tell what has been forwarded and what has not.

    If you do want to retain some messages at the old account, they will be available in the Trash label for 30 days.

  6. Click Save Changes.

  7. You should now have all your old emails.

How to Make Your New Gmail Account Fetch Messages

Next, prompt your new Gmail account to fetch the messages you want to transfer.

  1. After you've logged into the account, click the Settings gear icon (⚙️).

  2. Select Settings from the menu.

  3. Go to the Accounts and Import tab.

  4. Click Add a mail account under Check mail from other accounts.

    Gmail settings, Chrome browser, showing Add a mail account option
  5. Enter the email address of the Gmail account from which you want to import under Email address.

  6. Click Next.

    Add a mail account popup window in Gmail settings
  7. Make sure Import emails from my other account (POP3) is selected.

  8. Click Next.

    Add a mail account popup window in Gmail showing Import emails from my other account (POP3) and Next button
  9. Verify the desired Gmail account's user name is entered correctly under Username.

  10. Type the password for the Gmail account from which you import under Password.

    If you have enabled two-factor authentication for the old Gmail account, create and use a Gmail application password instead.

  11. Select under POP Server.

  12. Select 995 under Port.

  13. Verify Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server is not checked.

  14. Verify Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail is checked. From Options, select Label incoming messages and pick the label corresponding to the old Gmail account's email address, an existing label or new label. Select Archive incoming messages (Skip the Inbox) so imported emails do not show up your new Gmail account's inbox.

  15. Click Add Account.

    Add a mail account popup window for Gmail showing port and password settings, plus Add Account button

    If you see an access error, you have two options: With 2-step authentication enabled especially, you may have to authorize Gmail to access itself. If you do not have 2-step authentication turned on, make sure "less secure" applications are allowed to access Gmail.

  16. Select Yes, I want to be able to send mail as under Would you also like to be able to send mail as

    Having your old address set up as a sending address in the new account lets Gmail recognize your old sent messages and place them in the Sent Mail label.

    Add a mail account popup window in Gmail settings showing the Next button to be able to send mail as new account

    You can always add your old address as a sending address later. If you do select No, click Finish right away and skip the coming steps that add the old address to the new account.

  17. The task should now be complete.

How to Make Your Gmail Accounts Recognize Each Other

To make sure your old Gmail address is recognized by the new Gmail account as one of yours — and available for sending:

  1. Continuing from Yes, I want to be able to send mail as, click Next Step.

  2. Enter your name under Name.

  3. Click Next Step.

  4. Leave Treat as an alias checked.

  5. Click Next Step.

  6. Click Send Verification.

    Send verification popup window when adding a new account to Gmail settings
  7. Click Close window.

  8. Click the account icon in the top right corner of Gmail.

  9. Select Sign out from the sheet that comes up.

  10. Log in to Gmail using the address from which you import.

  11. Open the message from Gmail Team with the subject Gmail Confirmation - Send Mail as

  12. Highlight and copy the numeral confirmation code under Confirmation code: Otherwise, your browser might get the Gmail accounts mixed up.

    New account verification code in Gmail

    It is better not to follow the verification link and instead login with the correct account in your browser first, then use the code there.

    As an alternative to the somewhat convoluted process that follows, you can wait for your new Gmail account to import the verification message and follow the confirmation link from there.

  13. Click your account's icon in the top right corner.

  14. Select Sign out.

  15. Log in to Gmail again, this time with the account to which you import.

  16. Click the Settings gear icon (⚙️).

  17. Select Settings from the menu that comes up.

  18. Open the Accounts and Import tab.

  19. Click Verify for the old Gmail account's address under Send mail as:

    Verify new gmail account in Gmail Import settings
  20. Paste the verification code under Enter and verify the confirmation code.

  21. Click Verify.

    Verify new Gmail account with confirmation code
  22. And now the Gmail account should be recognized.

Gmail will not fetch all messages in one go. It will download mail from the old account in batches of approximately 100 to 200 emails at a time instead. Typically, importing will start with the oldest messages.

Gmail will download messages in your old Gmail account's Sent Mail label in addition to messages you have received. If you have set up the address from which you imported as a sending address in the new account, sent mail will appear under the new account's Sent Mail label, too.

After importing, you can use the old address with your new Gmail account, effectively combining the two accounts.

How to Stop Continued Importing of Mail from the Source Gmail Account

To stop Gmail from continuing to import new messages from the old account (or import everything anew if you ever reset the POP access status for the old account to offering all messages):

  1. Click the Settings gear icon (⚙️) in the new Gmail account.

  2. Select Settings from the menu that comes up.

  3. Go to the Accounts and Import category.

  4. Click delete for the Gmail account from which you imported under Check mail from other accounts (using POP3).

    Screenshot of Settings in Gmail, showing the delete new account button
  5. Click OK under Are you sure you want to delete this mail account?

    Screenshot of Confirm delete mail account in Gmail settings, Chrome browser, highlighting the OK button.
  6. And now your account should be gone.

Manually Moving Emails

All of the steps we've outlined above work solely within Gmail. The messages from your old account now feature new labels.

Alternatively, add both Gmail accounts to a program like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird and manually drag individual messages or folders (i.e., labels in Gmail) between accounts, preserving the original labels from the old account.