Setting up Google Takeout for Gmail

What would happen if someone stole your Gmail account and you wouldn't be able to get it back? If you aren't using an email client then you can use a service called Google Takeout to get your emails out of Gmail.

  1. Log into your Gmail account and go to Google Takeout. Accessing the Gmail data consists of 2 steps: "Select data to include" and "Choose file type, frequency and destination". We will start with the first step "Select data to include":Google Takeout
  2. First you need to click on Deselect All. Otherwise, you will get the data from all Google services.
  3. Do a search for "mail" so that you find Gmail. Check the checkbox: Select Mail
  4. Click on "All Mail data included" to show a mailbox/label selection. Select your mailboxes/labels, if you don't want to export everything at once. Click OK to close the window.Select mailboxes/labels
  5. Scroll down in the main Takeout window to the bottom. Click on the "Next step" button:
  6. The first step is finished. We are now in the second step "Choose file type, frequency and destination". Select "Delivery method". You can get the download link with an email or in different cloud providers like Dropbox or OneDrive. Remember that your emails may be GBs large and the cloud needs to have as much free space:Select delivery method
  7. Select the frequency. I only want to export the data one time. The other option is once every 2 months for a year. You can also change file type and max file size here. Finally click on the button "Create export".Select frequency
  8. Google is now working on the export. Depending on the amount of data the export can take hours:Export is in progress9. You will get an email to your Inbox: Export is ready

    And you can download your email data:Email with download link

  9. After clicking on "Download your files" you will be shown a webpage with a link to your download. I first tested Google Takeout in October. But the data is already expired. Click on the "Download" button to finally download your files.Download mbox file

  10. The zip file is in the Downloads folder:Downloaded filesAfter unzipping I finally have the mbox files:Files unzipped

The good, the bad and the ugly

It's good that Google offers this service. 

However, the number of steps to take is rather large and the interface for getting the data out isn't very nice. The frequency of 2 months between backups is way too long. And I'm so totally sure that after a year you will remember to set up the backup again, won't you? If you want to access the data you need to import the emails into an mbox reader/viewer - Mail Archiver can do this, too.

But the real problem is that the backup isn't incremental. Do you want to deal with GBs of data every time you do a backup?

So you can do a backup with Google Takeout. But the problem is solved so much better with Mail Archiver X: set up once, archive every day and add only the new emails.