As everyone knows, Gmail is a very powerful e-mail service from Google, with a host of great features and the perfect pricetag – it’s completely free. One of the many great features of Gmail is that there is no practical limit on the number of accounts you can have. Google will crack down on you if you start sending out a lot of spam messages from your accounts, but you can have a single account or a thousand and as long as your behavior with the accounts is legitimate, you’re welcome to keep using the service. Gmail and our Google accounts have become much more than just email. It is where we store our contacts, calendars, chats, backups of Android devices, photos, files and so much more. While other email clients are available, Gmail has made it so very easy to use the entire Google ecosystem.
Sometimes, however, you need to dump an old account for whatever reason. Luckily, that’s simple to do so. The potential reasons for bailing on a Gmail account are many – maybe you changed your name, or your email address sounds out of date. Maybe you want to avoid an ex or put a stop to someone cyberstalking you. In any event, it’s easy as pie to leave an email account behind. But what if you want to keep the information that’s in that account? Google makes it easy to do that too with the migration feature.
Migrate from one Gmail account to another
To migrate from one Gmail account to another while taking all your old emails with you sounds complicated but it is actually quite simple. There are quite a few steps but each is very straightforward. The entire process should take less than five minutes.
First we will need to enable POP on both email accounts. Then we can back up your old emails and migrate them into your new account. You might like to use two browser tabs to perform these steps with one Gmail account in each.
- Log into the Gmail account you want to migrate from and select the cog icon in the top right.
- Select Settings and Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
- Select Enable POP for all mail and save changes.
- Repeat for the new Gmail account.
- Select Settings in your new Gmail account.
- Select the Accounts and Import tab.
- Select Check email from other accounts and enter your old Gmail account in the box.
- Select Next Step.
- Add the password and add ‘pop.gmail.com’ for POP Server and ‘995’ as the Port.
- Uncheck the box next to ‘Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server’.
- Check ‘Label incoming messages’ if you want to know that they came from your old Gmail address.
- Uncheck ‘Archive incoming messages’ as we want them forwarded rather than stored.
- Select Add Account.
- Select to either send as your old email address or not.
- Select Finish if you said no in step 14 or finish the wizard if you said yes.
In theory, your new Gmail account should now import emails from your old one and forward all new emails too. Depending on the size of your inbox, this could take a few minutes or a couple of hours. Gmail seems to batch emails into blocks of 100-200 and import them. If you have a huge inbox or large archive this could take a while. I’ve migrated an email inbox that had tens of thousand of messages and it took most of a day. A more reasonably-sized inbox ought to process much faster.
This process may set off an automatic security alarm within the Google software. If you see an unauthorized access error, you will need to select this link to enable the process. Select Continue on the new page and complete the steps above.
Stop your old Gmail address forwarding emails
Once import has completed and you have everything you need from your old address, you can either leave forwarding enabled and keep sending them or turn off forwarding and let your old email address go. It really depends on why you’re shifting to the new one.
To stop forwarding:
- Log into your new Gmail account.
- Select the cog icon in the top right and select Settings.
- Select the Accounts and Import tab.
- Delete your old Gmail address under Check mail from other accounts.
- Select OK to confirm.
Your old Gmail account will still store emails but will no longer forward them on to your new Gmail account. Those already imported will remain accessible in your new account though.
Using Got Your Back to import from Gmail
Got Your Back (GYB) is a command line tool available from GitHub that can backup and restore entire Gmail accounts. It’s a small download that can archive your entire inbox. While Gmail is pretty robust, if you use your email for more important things than arrange Saturday nights or general chatting, this might be something for you.
Head over to the GYB GitHub page to learn more and download the tool. It’s free and relatively easy to use. The instructions are on the Wiki page and are fairly detailed so you shouldn’t have any problems.
Google has made working with email simple with Gmail and you can do a lot with it. If you need to migrate from one Gmail account to another, you now know how! If you have any other tips of migrating emails from one Gmail account to another, please share them with us below.