How To Download Your Gmail and Google Calendar Data

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Google announced that Gmail and Google Calendar data will now be available for users to download and back up. A great idea, as backing up your data is a top priority, and more and more of our data is in Google’s cloud. Also, important in case a Google service goes down for a while — as pointed out a year ago in this Huffington Post article.

People really do panic when a Google service goes down for even a second, while we find it rather funny when people are having panic attacks, they should be ready to deal with these interruptions, have their data backed up, or set to use offline.

Note: If a Google app service goes down, you should be aware of the Google App Status Dashboard. Bookmark it, and check it periodically if something goes awry.

Now, two-factor authentication, which we’ve discussed here and highly recommend, and all of the security measures you take do make your Google account safer, nothing is better than a copy of your data. Stored safely and in your possession.

Google Takeout Adds Gmail and Google Calendar

Google Takeout is the service which allows you to create and download your data from various Google services – here are some details on how to use it. While Takeout did support lots of Google services, two  glaring omissions were Google Calendar and Gmail.

Google has recently announced in blog post that users will be able to download archives of their data from the two services. To do so directly, just click this direct link. And log in to your account if you’re not already and create your archives.

Click Create Archive and then you can either wait until the archive is created or, if you have tons of appointments in your Google Calendar, just wait for the email which will notify you when it’s done and ready to be downloaded. You can then go ahead and download it for safekeeping.

The ability to back up Gmail data is being rolled out as well. If you don’t see the option yet, keep checking back as you should have it soon. You can simply create an archive of it all, or if you don’t think everything is worth keeping, click edit and sort it by Labels.

Here’s an example of choosing the most important labels you want to back up.

Gmail messages will be archived in the MBOX format:

MBOX – An mbox is a way of storing mail messages and is supported by common mail clients like Microsoft Outlook 2011, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple’s Mail program. These files are most easily opened by a dedicated mail client. Read more about MBOX Format.

While Calendar uses iCalendar (ICS):

ICS – iCalendar is a common way of storing calendar entries and is used by many popular web and desktop-based calendar programs. Most calendar programs will have instructions on how to import an ICS file. See instructions for important ICS files into Google Calendar.


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LAST UPDATED 12/17/2013