Move or Copy Mail From One Gmail Account to Another

Name change? Need a new Gmail account while keeping the old? Here's what to do

copying mail from one gmail account to the other
Laptops: iStock

Has your name changed, or that of your business? Just want a new Gmail account but don't want to miss emails? No problem. You can move all your mail from one Gmail account to another. While your Gmail address is set in stone, you can set up a new Gmail account, though – and take your mail with you.

Change Gmail Addresses, and Take Your Mail with You

There are two ways to lead your old mail to a new account. You can do the moving manually in an email program, preserving your setup of labels, or let Gmail copy the messages for you without labels but also without hassle.

Move or Copy Mail from One Gmail Account to Another (Using Only Gmail)

First, 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.

A Screenshot of the POP Forwarding email settings in Gmail.

Then, to move (or copy) all received and sent emails from one Gmail account to another Gmail account by having the new Gmail account fetch the messages:

  1. From you Gmail account, click the Settings gear icon (⚙️) in the accounts toolbar.
  2. Select Settings from the menu that appears.
  3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  4. In the POP Download section, select Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded) as the Status.
    1. Note: 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. For When messages are accessed with POP select archive Gmail's copy from the dropdown 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.
    1. Tip: If you do want to retain some messages at the old account, they will be available in the Trash label for 30 days.
  1. Click Save Changes.

We are done with the account from which to import messages. On with the new Gmail account:

  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.
  5. Enter the email address of the Gmail account from which you want to import under Email address.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Make sure Import emails from my other account (POP3) is selected.
  8. Click Next.
  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.
    1. Important: If you have enabled 2-step authentication for the old Gmail account, do 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.
    1. Options: Select Label incoming messages and pick the label corresponding to the old Gmail account's email address, an existing label or New label for a new label.
    2. Select Archive incoming messages (Skip the Inbox) so imported emails do not show up (or clutter) your new Gmail account's inbox.
  1. Click Add Account.
    1. Important: If you see an access error, you have two options:
      1. With 2-step authentication enabled especially, you may have to authorize Gmail to access itself.
      2. If you do not have 2-step authentication turned on, make sure "less secure" applications are allowed to access Gmail.
  2. Select Yes, I want to be able to send mail as under Would you also like to be able to send mail as
    1. Why to say "Yes" here: 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.
    2. Can I say "No"? You can choose No, of course; you can always add your old address as a sending address later.
    3. If you do select No, click Finish right away and skip the coming steps that add the old address to the new account.

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. Now click Send Verification.
  7. Click Close window.
  8. Click your 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:.
    1. Tip: It is better not to follow the verification link and instead log in with the correct account in your browser first, then use the code there. We will do this in the following steps.
    2. Otherwise, your browser might get the Gmail accounts mixed up.
    3. If you followed the link and everything worked, that is fine, of course.
    4. Option: 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.
  1. Click your account's icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select Sign out.
  3. Log in to Gmail again, this time with the account to which you import.
  4. Click the Settings gear icon (⚙️).
  5. Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  6. Open the Accounts and Import tab.
  7. Click Verify for the old Gmail account's address under Send mail as:.
  8. Paste the verification code under Enter and verify the confirmation code.
  9. Click Verify.

Gmail will not fetch all messages in one go. It will download mail from the old account in batches of approximately 100 - 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.

Stop Continued Importing of Mail from the Source Gmail Account (and Prevent Duplicates)

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).
  5. Click OK under Are you sure you want to delete this mail account?

(Importing from one Gmail account into another tested with Gmail in a desktop browser.)