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How do I use Gmail offline?

Use Gmail offline
Access your emails from anywhere

Working in a signal black hole or during a tunnel-filled train commute can be frustrating – especially if you have a lot of time-sensitive emails to read. But it doesn’t need to be that way: here’s how to use Gmail offline. 

Before we begin, there are a couple of dampeners. First, and this will be obvious, you’ll be able to read, write and delete emails offline, but not actually reply – you’ll need a data or Wi-Fi signal for that. Second, the smartphone steps below only apply to Android devices. Sorry, Apple devotees. 

How to use Gmail offline: Windows 10 and macOS

Open Gmail in your browser of choice and click on the Settings cog in the top-right of the window. Select Settings. 

Click the Offline tab from the horizontal menu (as you can see below, it often falls onto the second line).

Use Gmail offline

Toggle the “Enable offline mail” tickbox to generate some serious looking further options…

Gmail will give you an overview of how much storage space offline mail will use, as well as the ability to download attachments (which we’d recommend keeping checked).

Usefully, there’s also a choice of two security options. If you’re not dealing with crucial government secrets, “Keep offline data on my computer” is far better as it will iron out the process of moving between offline and online Gmail. However, if security is a serious concern, opt for “Remove offline data from my computer” – but be aware that re-syncing might take a long time.

Click Save Changes and you’ll be given one last warning:

Select “Got It” to finish the process. You will then be taken back to Gmail, where the following advice will appear.

Once again, click the big blue “Got it” and then create a bookmark by pressing Cmd+D, if you’re using a Mac, or Ctrl+D in Windows 10. 

Before you head out into the Wi-Fi-less wild, it’s worth checking that Gmail has synced your emails for offline reading and deleting. To do so, simply look for the symbol below on the Gmail toolbar (next to the email/page count).

If the underlined tick has appeared, make sure that everything is hunky-dory by closing your Gmail tab, turning the Wi-Fi off and opening the bookmark. 

Also, if you ever want to disable Gmail offline, go back to Settings | Offline and then uncheck the “Enable offline mail” box, before clicking Save Changes..

How to use Gmail offline on an Android smartphone

Enabling Gmail offline on your Android phone is similarly easy. Go to the Gmail app and tap on the Settings icon (three horizontal lines) in the top-left of the screen. 

Scroll down to Settings and then tap your email address. In the menu that appears, scroll down to the “Data usage” sub-heading.

To read, write and delete emails offline, check the Sync Gmail box. You can then specify just how many emails you want to see (30 days is the default, but you can go as far back as you like) and whether you want to download attachments. 

And that’s it – you will now be able to access your emails wherever you are and they will automatically sync when you regain a data or Wi-Fi connection. 

READ NEXT: How do I search for messages with attachments in Gmail?

About the author

Max Figgett

Max has written for numerous websites and magazines over the years. Whether it’s about ancient hardware or software secrets, no Big Tech Question is too obscure for him to tackle.

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