Finally, Download All Your Google Mail And Calendar Data Easily



I've written in this column previously about how to download all your data from Google's mail, calendar, and other services.  It's not hugely complicated, but it was never a feature that Google offered as a native capability so, in order to download your Gmail for example, you had to turn on POP3 and then download via an email client such as Thunderbird.

But not any more!  Finally, Google recently introduced a feature that allows you to download all of your data from any of 16 separate Google services.

Assuming you have a Google account, start by logging into your account and then head to to get started.  The system currently supports downloading data from 16 different Google services, with more promised.

In the case of Gmail, the simplest option is to choose a ZIP archive file.  After a few minutes (sometimes longer), you'll receive an email to say that your archive is ready to download.  Once you do so, you'll have all of your current email (including anything in the spam and trash folders), in a single file that you can keep for archive purposes or import into another cloud-based system (or desktop client).  

The download is in MBOX format, which is basically a text file.  Although many email clients can import this, there are 2 simple ways to access it.  First, just allow Windows to index it, just like it does with any other file by default (unless you've turned off indexing).  You can then use the standard Windows search facility to look for old email messages too.  Alternatively, just load the MBOX file into a text editor and read it.  NotePad or WordPad will do.  




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Hmm - the more I try it the less I like it. It seems that if you export data from Google calendar and import into Outlook and then create some more Google entries and export the file again and reimport it the original entries become duplicated - or worse. I now have 3 copies of some calendar entries
The only thing I can think of is to always import into a new Outlook calendar and then delete the old one after the import. Anyone else tried this or have any thoughts?

The text says calendar data but then only describes emails. Is this a convenient way to get Google Calendar data into Outlook - there seem to be very few free and easy ways to achieve this!

Actually it works well - the calendar dump is in ICS which Outlook imports. Will need to do a bit more research - eg in handling recurring appointments - but is looking good

And my screen only said 15 services!

Am I seeing this correct, "it may take hours or days to archive".

Is it correct that you must stay signed into your account for up to days to archive your choices? When I sign out it tells me I must sign back in to continue. This seems a bit inconvenient to me to say the least.

Love your stuff Rob!

Well, it seems it is OK to sign out of the email and have the Archive still download. Mine downloaded in less than an hour. I only downloaded my emails and contacts. (I do have many emails in this account)It took over 20 minutes to download the zipped archive file to my machine.

An after thought I had was it probably would be prudent to empty ones Trash Folder before doing the archive. I will do that next month when I create a new archive and delete todays.

Thanks again Rob.

Quoted: "The system currently supports downloading data from 16 different Google services..." - Now, it's 17.

Quoted: "'ll have all of your current email (including anything in the spam and trash folders" - You can edit what you want to download by clicking the Edit,for example in Mail,click Edit>Select Labels.