How to Download Gmail Emails to PC

From switching to a different email service to just wanting a local backup for record keeping purposes, there are many reasons to download Gmail emails to computer, and this article explains how to do it in a way that you can understand regardless of how much experience with computers you have.

Why It Makes Sense to Download Gmail Emails to Computer?

Considering that Google has nearly 100,000 expertly trained employees, many of which are highly talented cybersecurity professionals with many years of industry experience, you might think that they are better suited than anyone else to guard your data, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

However, past experience has taught us that hackers always find a way how to get what they want. In 2017, for example, a group of hackers successfully executed a sophisticated phishing attack that allowed them to take control of users’ Gmail accounts.

Fortunately for Gmail users, the hackers used the compromised accounts just to send spam emails even though they had permissions to do a lot more, including deleting all emails. Considering that Google has been steadily losing its reputation of a company that’s always striving to do the right thing, it’s not far-fetched to imagine some hacktivist executing a similar attack like the one that took over a million Gmail accounts in 2017, but with far more sinister motives.

Of course, information loss is just one of the many reasons why people should learn how to download Gmail emails. When you download Gmail emails to your computer, you become able to easily move to a different email provider or access your emails even when Gmail is down.

How to Download Gmail Emails

When it comes to learning how to download emails from Gmail to computer, there’s no need to download some third-party software and give it permissions to access your inbox because Gmail has everything you need to accomplish the task.

In fact, we recommend you avoid third-party email backup software because you might come across a software application that has been compromised by hackers to steal personal information from unsuspecting Gmail users.

The situation is different when it comes to some inbox organizers, such as Clean Email, which never reads full emails and doesn’t access email attachments. What’s more, Clean Email automatically removes all data it indexes from its servers after 45 days, so you can rest assured knowing that your personal information is well protected even in the future.

How to Download all Emails from Gmail as Archive

Google provides its users with the option to download all data associated with their Google accounts, including Gmail emails, as a single archive.

To download all emails from Gmail as archive:

  1. Log in to your Gmail account.
  2. Click your Profile icon in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click “Google Account.”
  4. Select “Data & personalization” from the list of options on the left.

how to download Gmail emails

  1. Scroll down until you see the “Download, delete or make a plan for your data” section and select the “Download your data” option.
  2. Make sure “Mail” is selected.
  1. Scroll down and click “Next step.”

how to export Gmail emails

  1. Now it’s time to choose your archive's file type and whether you want to download it or save it in the cloud.
  2. When you’re done, you can click “Create archive.”
  3. Wait a while until the archive downloads to your computer.

To open the archive, you may need a file archiver like 7-Zip or PeaZip, depending on which operating system you use.

How to Save Gmail Emails as PDF

There are times when you need to create a bulletproof backup of just one email by storing it on your computer and perhaps even printing it. The good news is that you can kill two birds with one stone by learning how to export Gmail emails as PDF files.

To save Gmail emails as PDF:

  1. Log in to your Gmail account.
  2. Open the email you want to save as PDF.
  3. Click the small printer icon on the top-right
  1. Change “Destination” to “Save as PDF” and click the blue “Save” button.

how to export Gmail emails as PDF

  1. Select where you want to save the email.
  2. Click the Save button to confirm the location.

Unfortunately, this method won’t help you if you want to learn how to download Gmail email to PC in bulk. For that, we recommend you use the first method and download emails as archive.


In this day and age, you can be sure that there’s someone out there who is actively looking for a security hole that would make it possible to access your personal information without authorization. Even though Google does a lot to protect its users against hackers and other cyber threats, the fact remains that it’s always a good idea to backup all important information, including your emails. In this article, we’ve described two methods how to export Gmail emails, with one method describing how to export Gmail emails as archive, and the other one describing how to export Gmail emails as PDF files.

Regardless of which method you choose, you should always store downloaded emails in a safe location. In the case of file archives, it could be a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. In the case of PDF files, it could be a fireproof safe hidden somewhere in your home. Should you ever lose access to your Gmail account, you will be incredibly glad that you’ve spent a few minutes to download them to your computer for backup purposes.

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