Migrate from Gmail to ProtonMail

Congratulations on joining the ProtonMail community! ProtonMail offers you an ad-free email service that safeguards your personal conversations with strong encryption. Learn more about what makes ProtonMail different.

This short guide gets you up and running with ProtonMail if you are transferring from Gmail. No matter how many emails, attachments, and contacts you have stored in your Gmail account, you can seamlessly move them to ProtonMail by following the steps below.

If you would like to know more about a particular topic, skip to:

If you need help transitioning from other email providers, check out our migration guides for Outlook and Yahoo.

Transfer existing emails

Moving your mailbox to ProtonMail is easy with our Import-Export app. The app is currently available to all users who have early, beta access to Proton features (you can get this by upgrading to a Plus, Professional, or Visionary plan in your ProtonMail Settings > Subscription). 

The tool imports your entire mailbox directly from another email account, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook, or uploads email files stored on your computer. You can also export emails from your ProtonMail account to your hard drive to securely back them up.

The Import-Export tool will become available to our free users once the beta stage is over. 

Download Import-Export for Windows or for Mac. Here’s how to use it.

Set up email forwarding

Once you’ve imported existing messages, continue with the setup of automatic forwarding. This ensures that all the new messages sent to your old Gmail account also arrive in your ProtonMail inbox. Once senders learn your new Proton address, they can reach you directly at your ProtonMail address. 

Keep in mind that messages forwarded from Gmail first go through Google’s servers. This means they will only be TLS encrypted, and not end-to-end encrypted, and Google can access them.  

Here are eight quick steps to forward your Gmail messages to ProtonMail:

  1. In your Gmail account, go to Settings by clicking the gear in the top right corner 
  2. In the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section, click Add a forwarding address  
  3. Enter your ProtonMail address in the new window, click Next and Proceed
  4. Open ProtonMail where you can find a confirmation message from Google
  5. Click the link to verify your ProtonMail address and confirm forwarding
  6. Refresh your Gmail account webpage
  7. In the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section, select Forward a copy of incoming mail and select your ProtonMail address from the drop-down menu
  8. Click Save Changes 

Transfer contacts

ProtonMail offers a private, secure space for all your contacts. You can create an encrypted contact list in just two steps: export to a CSV file and import it to ProtonMail.

To export your Gmail contacts to a CSV:

  1. Open your Google contacts
  2. Hover your mouse over any contact and check the box that shows up
  3. In the top menu, click on the Selection Actions arrow and on All
  4. In the top left, go to More actions (the vertical dotted line) and select Export
  5. In the new window, select Export

To import the CSV to ProtonMail:

  1. Open your ProtonMail account in a browser on your desktop
  2. Select Import in the left menu on the Contacts page
  3. Drop your CSV file in the box or click on the box to select the CSV  
  4. Select Import

Inform your contacts 

Tell your contacts you are using a new email address. You could send out a short ProtonMail email to say hi and order a new set of business cards. 

Please keep in mind that ProtonMail imposes limits on the number of emails you can send at once to avoid spam and phishing attempts. The limits depend on many criteria, including the behavior of the sender. 

Learn more about sending limits

To make this transition easier, you can share your short domain email address @pm.me with your contacts. Emails received via @pm.me appear in the same inbox as those using you @protonmail.com address. All ProtonMail accounts, free and paid, can receive emails at this address and paid accounts can use it to send emails too. 

For example, if your email address is username@protonmail.com, the attached pm.me email address is username@pm.me. 

Learn more about ProtonMail’s @pm.me email address

Update online accounts

Connect your online accounts to ProtonMail to protect your sensitive communications, instead of using your Gmail address as a point of contact. By migrating messages related to finance, health, and shopping to ProtonMail, you will avoid having this personal information used to profile you and potentially exposed or sold to third parties.

This has to be done on an individual account basis, so you can also use this opportunity to review your accounts’ security settings and delete accounts you no longer use. 

Start with accounts holding sensitive information: banks, tax services, or file storage.

Continue with accounts you use daily: social media, online shopping, or entertainment.

Update the rest of your accounts over time. Create a separate folder in your ProtonMail account where you automatically forward emails from your Gmail account. This will help you quickly spot which contacts are still using your old email address. To remind your contacts about your new email address, set up an auto-reply on Gmail each time your contacts email you at your old address.

Once you have updated the accounts you want to continue receiving emails from, you can delete your Gmail account. This brings you back in control over which websites or organizations have your contact details. 

If later you decide to regain access to any account still associated with your Gmail address, you can use the recovery email address or the phone number you provided at signup. Alternatively, you can contact the support team of the service you’re trying to gain access to.

Sign up with your ProtonMail address from now on. All of your information and account updates will be securely encrypted.

Get the most out of ProtonMail 

ProtonMail supports a set of features and apps for quick access on different devices, strong privacy protection, an organized inbox, and efficient communication. 

All ProtonMail users can also log in through beta.protonmail.com to access the latest designs and features.

Download ProtonMail apps

Download ProtonMail apps for all your devices. This will give you quick access to an interface optimized for your device and allow you to use ProtonMail features, including encrypted emailing, wherever you are. 

Get ProtonMail for iOS or Android

Get ProtonMail Bridge

If you use an email desktop app such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or Apple Mail, install ProtonMail Bridge to safely read and write encrypted messages in your email desktop app. Our guides help you configure it correctly.

Download Bridge

Use a custom domain

ProtonMail allows you to set up your custom email address for domains you own in a few easy steps.

Access your hosting service or domain name provider (e.g. Google Domains, Cloudflare, etc.). Log in to your account and update the domain’s DNS records to point to ProtonMail. 

Learn how to update DNS records

After updating the DNS records, wait 24 hours for the records to propagate and test it by sending an email to your custom domain’s email address — it should go right to your ProtonMail inbox. When you have confirmed that emails arrive in your ProtonMail mailbox, you can delete your domain from Google.

Use multiple email aliases 

ProtonMail also allows you to receive emails to an unlimited number of aliases. If you don’t want to enter your actual email address, build an alias by adding a + to your username. This feature is available to all users. For example, if your email is username@protonmail.com, you will also receive the emails sent to username+soccerclub@protonmail.com in your inbox. 

Aliases together with filters help you manage your inbox. You can also use them to protect against phishing attempts or spam by assigning an alias to a each account you register with. This helps you quickly identify the source of spam. 

Organize your new inbox 

Use folders and labels to quickly locate emails on certain topics or from particular senders. Create filters to automatically sort email into custom folders and labels and to clear your inbox of spam. 

More questions? 

If you need help migrating from Gmail to ProtonMail, access our Knowledge Base articles or get in touch with ProtonMail customer support team. 

You can get a free secure email account from ProtonMail here.

We also provide a free VPN service to protect your privacy.

ProtonMail and ProtonVPN are funded by community contributions. If you would like to support our development efforts, you can upgrade to a paid plan or donate. Thank you for your support.

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32 comments

  1. Gudtalent

    Waoo. steps noted.

  2. persempre

    Well commented Thanks

  3. M4tt

    quick question…are forwarded email encrypted too?

  4. ProtonMail Support

    If you forward a message to a ProtonMail user, it is end to end encrypted. If you forward it to an outside recipient you need to add a password.

  5. ben closer

    That was fantastic post and proton mail is very easy to use.

  6. Future customer

    Contacts sync with phone addressbook is #1
    If you leave gmail but have no ideea who is calling you …
    Add this option for another “moover”.

    Ps: contacts is not important to be encrypted – could be optional, but ability to sync with iOS phone contacts iS!

  7. Arunmani

    I dont have a computer, so I do use Gmail n net from mobile. Will the steps mentioned above vary for me?

  8. ProtonMail Support

    You should be able to use the same procedure using a mobile browser as well, with the exception of using the ProtonMail Bridge.

  9. yz

    How to do it vice versa, transition from ProtonMail to Gmail?

  10. Nikola

    How do I use regular mail client, like Thunderbird with ProtonMail , and my domain name?

  11. Anonymous

    I never had such a difficult time starting a account

  12. ProtonMail Support

    If you need any assistance, please contact our support team at contact@protonmail.ch or using the support form at https://protonmail.com/support-form.

  13. Franck A.

    “we are also working on building a separate import/export tool”
    => any news on this ?

    Thanks

  14. Sondra

    I do not want ALL my device contacts in my contact list how do I reverse this process?

  15. ProtonMail Support

    If your contacts have not been uploaded to your ProtonMail account, you can remove the app permission to read your contacts in your OS settings.

  16. Clive

    But if you have uploaded contacts already and it from a full list and not your most filtered list can you reverse the contact process to clear all contacts and then select another list to upload?

  17. ProtonMail Support

    You can remove all contacts by logging in to the web version of ProtonMail, going to Contacts and then clicking on the Delete All button.

  18. Maisie

    Currently my business email that is hosted via godaddy is managed through my gmail account using my business email address to send and receive via gmail inbox. Is this also possible with ProtonMail?

  19. ProtonMail Support

    Yes, you can add your domain in ProtonMail and then you will be able to send and receive messages to your business addresses using ProtonMail. To set up a custom domain in ProtonMail, visit https://protonmail.com/support/knowledge-base/dns-records/. If you need any assistance, please contact our support team at contact@protonmail.ch, via the report bug button or using the support form at https://protonmail.com/support-form.

  20. Maruel

    Ok, in short, the only way to migrate from gmail to protonmail is by getting a paid subscription… That is very unfortunate.
    After reading so many reviews and comparing PM with the competition, I chose you only to learn that the free version is frankly useless. I rely on my email and I very frequently find myself searching for information in there. If I’m going to have to continue to maintain my gmail account, then might as well not open the PM account at all.
    I hope you change this in the future, so that people can actually get out of gmail and into PM fully (which is what I wanted to do) without having to pay for a membership. If you really need the money you could maybe enforce a donation for the migration step. Anyway, I will have to look elsewhere sadly.

  21. Marcus

    Manuel. Gmail is free and you are not the Customer, but the Product. With gmail the personal identifiable informaion (PII) is the value. Google is selling PII. Thet make a LOT of money.

    ProtonMail is a paid service to be useful, yes. But since PM is not selling your PII, would this be done for free?

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    //happy to pay for privacy

  22. John Parker

    Can you tell me whether these steps pr guidelines is for mobiles also or not? Because I do not have laptops or PC but I have a mobile phone. So can I use these tips on a mobile phone to transitioning from Gmail to promotional? I have a website which provides you the facility of Amazon Webmail Support for you so that you can solve your technical issues.

  23. ProtonMail Support

    Most of these steps can be accomplished using a mobile browser with the exception of importing messages using the ProtonMail Bridge, which will require a laptop/PC. For further assistance, please contact our support team at contact@protonmail.ch, support@protonmail.ch or using the support form at https://protonmail.com/support-form.

  24. JimSealy

    Can someone please tell me what I must be doing wrong. I sent test message to a non-proton address (att.net) and that user has not seen it. I’m a new Proton user. Thanks

  25. ProtonMail Support

    Please contact our support team using the support form: https://protonmail.com/support-form, at contact@protonmail.ch or support@protonmail.ch with more information.

  26. Jennifer

    I am seriously considering ProntoMail but do not understand the process when sending mail to a non Pronto recipient. The receiver will require a pass word to read the mail, how would I deliver that password to them?

  27. ProtonMail Support

    You will need to communicate the password to the recipient through another channel, or you can set a password that can be easily explained to the intended recipient using the Password Hint field, but would be difficult for someone else to guess.

  28. Martin

    I would like to auto-forward certain message to a non-protonmail address, but there doesn’t appear any current way to do this. Please consider added that capability an enhancement request.

  29. Matt

    Make sure that you’re aware of the fact that you won’t be able to search your e-mails. I’m a paying ProtonMail customer and didn’t notice this CRITICAL missing feature until I had already gone through all the work to transition. Very disappointing. A missing search feature means that ProtonMail cannot be used for general e-mails.

  30. ProtonMail Support

    Hi,

    Encrypted search is in development and coming soon. Thank you for your patience!

  31. Art

    Hi Protonmail team, thanks for making this survice available.
    I’m transitioning from gmail to protonmail so I followed the steps to set up the forwarding option in my gmail account.
    I sent a test email in gmail to myself to see if it works and I don’t get the forwarded email in my protonmail.
    I followed the steps carefully and I wonder what the problem is?
    Looking forward to hearing back from you.
    Thanks

  32. ProtonMail Support

    Hi,

    Can you try setting up auto-forwarding in Gmail again? This worked fine in our testing just now.

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