Ask LH: How Can I Archive My Gmail?

Ask LH: How Can I Archive My Gmail?
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Dear Lifehacker, I use Google Drive quite extensively, and I am now close to the 15GB limit. I have deducted that the main offender is numerous emails with attachments – as a lot of these are quite sensitive (job applications for example) – I don’t want to just delete them. Is there any way to bulk forward them to Evernote, or otherwise save them locally? Thanks, Head In The Cloud

Dear HITC,

The simplest solution is to pay for more Google Drive storage. There are a range of plans available with prices starting at $1.99 per month which nets you an extra 100GB. This works out to under $25 a year which isn’t a huge expense.

The downside to this method is that you’ll eventually need to buy even more storage. Once you pass one terabyte, the monthly storage fees starts to get exorbitantly high.

If you’d prefer to work within your existing 15GB limit, Google has a pretty in-depth guide on managing your storage limit without paying extra. It explains what counts toward your storage limit, what to do if you hit your limit and how to use advanced search to find items that you want to delete.

There are also several viable backup options that are well worth exploring — this Lifehacker article provides four options that will allow you to periodically wipe the slate clean while still retaining your important files and media. Good luck!


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  • Try emClient, a very good free email client that downloads all your Gmail emails (& attachments) to your hard drive so that you can archive / back them up.

  • The quickest way is to download all emails using pop, then just start fresh. Mozilla thunderbird is a good email client. Don’t forget to save a backup!

  • Alternately, you can run an imap client on your gmail account and just remove the attachments, leaving the email contents still available for later searching.

  • You could use MailStore Home, a free email archiving tool. However be careful and keep incremental backups, I once had the database corrupt and lost email – fortunately I use it as an index, not an archive.

    What I would suggest is using something like Thunderbird email client, map gmail as IMAP, use thunderbird to move your email from gmail to local storage – though it may just copy them so you may have to delete manually.

    You can also use the website below – likely you have a number of huge but pointless emails you can delete.

  • I pay the extra $1.99US a month. I have 1Tb of storage on OneDrive, but it’s a pain in the ass to manage. Currently I have 35GB space used, mostly photo’s.

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