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

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Johner Images - Fridh, Conny/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Is it the email address? Has your name changed, or that of your business? Was it a fluke and mistake?

However good your reasons for desiring change, the Gmail address is set in silicon. You can set up a new Gmail account, though—and take your mail with you.

Two paths lead your old mail to a new account. You can do the moving manually in an email program—preserving your setup of labels—or watch 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)

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

  • 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.
  • Log in to the account from which you want to import.
  • Click the Settings gear in your Gmail's toolbar.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  • Make sure Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded) is selected under POP Download: irrespective of the current status under 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.
  • You can select archive Gmail's copy under When messages are accessed with POP to have your old account's inbox cleared or delete Gmail's copy to move mail instead of copying it; you can also choose keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox (unread) or mark Gmail's copy as read, of course.
  • Click Save Changes.
  • Click your picture (or the icon) in Gmail's top right corner.
  • Select Sign out from the menu that appears.
  • Log in to the Gmail account to which you want to move the messages.
  • Click the Settings gear.
  • Select Settings from the menu that shows up.
  • Go to the Accounts and Import tab.
  • Click Add a POP3 mail account you own under Check mail from other accounts (using POP3):.
  • Enter the email address of the Gmail account from which you want to import under Email address:.
  • Click Next Step ».
  • Verify the desired Gmail account's user name is entered under Username:.
  • Type the Gmail account's password under Password:.
  • Make sure pop.gmail.com is selected under POP Server:.
  • Make sure 995 is selected under Port:.
  • Now make sure Leave a copy of retrieved messages on the server. is not checked.
  • Verify Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail. is checked.
  • Optionally, check 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.
  • Optionally, check Archive incoming messages (Skip the Inbox) so imported emails do not show up (or clutter) your new Gmail account's inbox.
  • Click Add Account ».
  • Typically, select Yes, I want to be able to send mail as ___@gmail.com. under Would you also like to be able to send mail as ___@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 choose No, of course; you can always add your old address as a sending address later.
      If you select No for Would you also like to be able to send mail as ___@gmail.com?, click Finish and skip the upcoming steps.
  • Click Next Step ».
  • Enter your name under Name:.
  • Click Next Step ».
  • Leave Treat as an alias. checked.
  • Click Next Step ».
  • Now click Send Verification.
  • Click Close window.
  • Click your icon in the top right corner of Gmail.
  • Select Sign out from the sheet that comes up.
  • Log in to Gmail using the address from which you import.
  • Open the message from Gmail Team with the subject Gmail Confirmation - Send Mail as ___@gmail.com.
  • Highlight and copy the numeral confirmation code under Confirmation code:.
    • Do not follow the verification link.
  • Again, click your account's icon in the top right corner.
  • Select Sign out.
  • Log in to Gmail again, this time with the account to which you import.
  • Click the Settings gear.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Open the Accounts and Import tab.
  • Click Verify for the old Gmail account's address under Send mail as:.
  • Paste the verification code under Enter and verify the confirmation code.
  • Click Verify.
    • As an alternative to this somewhat convoluted process, you can try waiting for Gmail to import the verification message and follow the confirmation link right from inside the new Gmail account.

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 mail.

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. <

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):

  • Click the Settings gear in the new Gmail account.
  • Choose Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to the Accounts and Import category.
  • Click delete for the Gmail account from which you imported under Check mail from other accounts (using POP3).
  • Click OK under Are you sure you want to delete this mail account?.

(Updated July 2012)

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