Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My work email is being deactivated. How can I save all of my received emails onto my laptop or an external hard drive?

My laptop is a MAC.

share|improve this question
See also: webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/3938/… – Al E. Sep 24 '13 at 12:45

You need to use a third-party email client and get your messages via the POP and/or IMAP protocols. A desktop client is usually assumed, but you might be able to use a webmail app like Outlook.com. (You'll have a lot less control of your data with the latter.)

From the Data Liberation Front:

Escaping from Gmail

IMAP, POP Access

It's easy to use a different email reading program with Gmail using either IMAP or POP, or to get all your mail out to take to a different provider. Go to the Settings page (link at top right of Gmail page), Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

This tab lets you set up POP and IMAP, with instructions for popular email reading programs. There is extensive online help available for both POP and IMAP. And in case you are not familiar with the difference between POP and IMAP, here's a simple chart:

share|improve this answer
Would IMAP be desirable in this situation? Wouldn't there be a danger of emails being deleted locally if an attempt was later made to sync with the "deactivated" mailbox (or if emails were purged in the live mailbox before deactivation)?! – w3dk Sep 24 '13 at 16:59
@w3d: It depends on what's to be done. If someone is looking to move all of the messages to another email account (say another Gmail account) I would use IMAP. If the desire is simply to download the messages to keep as an archive, I'd use POP. – Al E. Sep 24 '13 at 17:32

You will need to download all of your emails using an email client such as Mail on the Mac. Instructions on doing so can be found here

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.