How to Move or Copy Mail From One Gmail Account to Another

Two different approaches trade comprehensiveness for ease-of-use

Gmail supports two methods of migrating messages between accounts: using Gmail to fetch messages, or moving them manually within an email program like Outlook.

When you use another client, you'll preserve your setup of labels. When you let Gmail copy the messages for you, you'll lose your labels, but this process is easier than the manual option.

Here's how to move your messages between Gmail accounts.

Configure POP Access for Your Old Account

You must have your old account configured to allow access using Post Office Protocol. If you already set it 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, select the Settings gear icon in the accounts toolbar.

    A screenshot of a Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Settings.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  3. Choose Forwarding and POP/IMAP.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab highlighted
  4. In the POP Download section, select Enable POP for all mail as the status.

    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.

    A screenshot of Gmail POP settings with the POP download options highlighted
  5. From the When messages are accessed with POP menu, you have several options:

    • Select archive Gmail's copy to clear your old account's inbox while keeping them in the Archive folder in case you want to access them later.
    • Select delete Gmail's copy to move mail instead of copying it. This option moves old messages to the trash, so you won't be able to get them later.
    • Select keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox to leave the original message untouched.
    • Choose mark Gmail's copy as read to leave the original email in the Inbox and mark it as read. This shows you what Gmail has forwarded and what it hasn't.

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

    A screenshot of Gmail's POP settings with the download options highlighted
  6. Select Save Changes.

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, select the Settings gear icon.

    A screenshot of a Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Settings from the menu.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  3. Go to the Accounts and Import tab.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Account and Imports header highlighted
  4. Select Add a mail account under Check mail from other accounts.

    The Add a Mail Account command
  5. Enter the email address of the Gmail account from which you want to import under Email address.

  6. Select Next.

    The Next button
  7. On the next screen, select the Import emails from my other account (POP3) option.

  8. Select Next.

    The Next button
  9. 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.

  10. Select pop.gmail.com under POP Server.

  11. Select 995 under Port.

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

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

  14. Select Add Account.

    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.

    The Add Account button
  15. Select Yes, I want to be able to send mail as username@gmail.com under Would you also like to be able to send mail as username@gmail.com?

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

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 username@gmail.com, select Next.

    The Next button
  2. Enter your name under Name.

  3. Leave Treat as an alias checked.

  4. Select Next Step twice.

  5. Select Send Verification.

    The Send Verification button
  6. Click Close window.

  7. Select the account icon in the top right corner of Gmail.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Account icon highlighted
  8. Select Sign out from the sheet that comes up.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Sign Out page highlighted
  9. Log in to Gmail using the address from which you import.

  10. Open the message from Gmail Team with the subject Gmail Confirmation - Send Mail as username@gmail.com.

  11. Highlight and copy the numeral confirmation code under Confirmation code. 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.

    The confirmation code
  12. Select your account's icon in the top right corner.

  13. Select Sign out.

  14. Log in to Gmail again, this time with the account to which you're importing.

  15. Select the Settings gear icon.

    A screenshot of a Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  16. Click Settings.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  17. Open the Accounts and Import tab.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Account and Imports header highlighted
  18. Select Verify for the old Gmail account's address under Send mail as.

    The Verify link
  19. Paste the verification code under Enter and verify the confirmation code.

  20. Select Verify to finish connecting the accounts.

    The Verify button

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 along with messages you've received. 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 Importing Mail from a Gmail Account

To stop Gmail from importing new messages from the old account, follow these steps.

  1. Select the Settings gear icon in the new Gmail account.

    A screenshot of a Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  2. Select Settings.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  3. Go to the Accounts and Import category.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Account and Imports header highlighted
  4. Select delete for the Gmail account from which you imported under Check mail from other accounts.

    The Delete link
  5. Select OK on the Confirm delete mail account prompt.

    The OK button

How to Manually Move Emails

The steps above work solely within Gmail. The messages from your old account will 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.