Back up your Gmail, the super duper easy way.
Edit: If you’re planning on copying your current email into your backup a) remember to hold down option when you drag, and b) add another line to the end of your rule to tell it to stop evaluating rules, so you don’t get multiple copies :)
So, I was inspired this morning to share some basic wisdom regarding the backing up of emails by this guy. It seems that for whatever reason his Gmail account (no, you should not do business on your gmail account, it’s bush-league and not failover-able, if that’s a word… buy a domain and use apps) was suspended, and he lost a whole bunch of stuff, blah blah :’(
Backing up your email is super easy with Mac Mail or any other normal IMAP client, provided that you don’t mind letting it run in the background (I’d recommend you actually use it to ‘read email,’ as well, but that’s up to you)… So, without further ado, backing up your email for dummies!
Step 0: Make sure that your mail account is enabled for IMAP connections and your Mac Mail is hooked up to it (click here for Google’s how-to)
Step 1: Locate the “add mailbox” button and give that bad boy a click. Find the option “new mailbox….” and give your backup box a name. Be sure ‘on my mac’ is selected in the location dropdown. Hit “Ok” and your box will be created, showing up in the sidebar.
Step 2: Add a rule to put your mail in this box. Command+, (comma) will bring up the preferences window (this is true for just about any app on a Mac), after which you just select the rules option, far right. Name your new rule, and set these criteria: If all of the following:
- Account is [your account to backup, not the mailbox you just created]
- Copy Message (not move) to mailbox: [here is where you pick the box you just created]
-Optional, but be aware it will mark all your mail in your inbox, not just your backup folder, as read, defeating the purpose of the feature: (click the plus)
-Mark as read
That’s it! now every time you get a message, a copy of it will be placed in your backup folder and marked read. Now if your gmail goes down for whatever reason or your account gets cancelled, you have all your messages stored locally. If you’re using apps on your domain, you can just switch your MX record and use whatever client you prefer from there on out, or chill and wait for Gmail to go back up. Note that hard drives fail too, (especially Apple ones) so you should export and zip your backup mailbox from time to time as well.
Because of Mail’s behavior when it comes to attachments, you need to back those up separately. I’d recommend never opening any attachments from your email, ever, because your hard drive will slowly fill up due to tons of temp files that don’t get cleaned out, so if you want to keep your files, be sure to save them locally as well.
Also worth noting, you’ll have to do this for sent mail as well, as the rule above only applies to incoming mail. :) Happy backing-up!