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August 19, 2009

Import Messages and Contacts from Old Accounts to Gmail

In May, Gmail launched a feature that lets you import messages and contacts from other mail services like Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL. Google promised that the feature will be rolled out to all accounts, but it was only enabled in new accounts. The good news is that the feature is now available in all accounts and you can find it if you go to the "Accounts and import" tab from the settings page.

You may wonder if it's a good idea to use this service powered by TrueSwitch instead of Gmail's mail fetcher. Here are some differences between the two service:

* Mail importing saves to your Gmail account the existing messages from other accounts and continues to check for new messages only for 30 days. Gmail's mail fetcher downloads the existing messages and checks for new messages indefinitely.

* Mail importing saves to your account messages and contacts, while Gmail's mail fetcher doesn't import contacts (you can manually import contacts).

* Mail importing works for mail services that don't support POP3 (for example: the US version of Yahoo Mail), but the mail fetcher requires POP3. Mail importing supports a small number of popular mail services.

"Copying mail over usually takes a couple days, occasionally up to a week — but eventually it all arrives. And once it's done, you can forget your old account and enjoy having everything in one place," says Google, but I disagree. You'll import the old messages to your account, but after 30 days the service will no longer fetch new messages.


  1. I think the most important criteria for making a decision is whether the mail account you want to import from supports POP3 or not. POP3 is the best option, but if it's not available you have only one choice (and many people have Yahoo e-mail accounts which don't have POP access and they don't show any intention to add it).

  2. All I want to say is I love Gmail:)

  3. Will import come to Google Applications for your Domain?

  4. @karlerikjessen: Google said it won't - it is a feature targeted only at non-business users. However, you could setup a throwaway Gmail account for importing and retrieve the messages with POP3 into your Apps e-mail account.

  5. A quick question for someone that has tried this. Yahoo used to be my primary email provider so I have years worth of email sorted into various folders. Would this grab all of that mail,or does everything have to be in the inbox?

  6. @Kevin:

    It will fetch all your mail.

  7. Is this really true? This seems to give another option to users that eventhough they switch on other accounts,they can recover the old message??

    What do you think?

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  8. this is a great step,
    I think now all users can convert easly to gmail
    gmail needs a messenger also

  9. @Ellithy

    Yes! A messenger for Google would be excellent. But I would rather see a Search Engine, or some Web Office. Maybe Google will create a searchengine some day... and maybe with the name Google.... that would be great :)

  10. What about the dates of the e-mails? Gmail's mail fether let me loose the original arrival date so sorting will be chaotic

  11. i need to import to my google account. i could import but could not import that. please help me.

    Thanks for helpful post

  12. @Alex

    Yes, help Alireza! Why should he go to the Google Forums. It’s your job, Alex.

  13. No, it's not job. I don't work for Google and nobody pays me for user support. If you can't import accounts, share your feedback in Gmail's forum and hopefully someone from Google will answer your complaint.

  14. yeah. i was jacked when I found out about this feature. i have several accounts out there but i don't want everyone bombarding my main one. so it's nice to use this feature and combine it with the filtering and folders so that i know where mail was sent to and it all funnels into my main email.


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