Google is no stranger to service disruptions. And while it may feel like the end of the world when you’re without email access for an hour, things could be worse — your entire six-year Gmail history could be lost forever.
As a preventative measure, the search giant today began rolling out the ability to export a copy of your Gmail and Google Calendar data.
Back up your data by downloading your every saved message and calendar event, or pick a specific subset of labels and agendas you want to move over to another service.
The process is easy: Visit your personal Google account page, then click the “Download your data” option in the left-hand menu bar. The Calendar will appear, with the choice to include all calendars or select certain ones. If you don’t see Gmail listed yet, don’t worry — the ability to download emails is slowly rolling out to all customers over the next month.
Tap “Create Archive” to generate a .zip file; depending on how many years’ worth of events you’ve saved, the process shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. You can create an archive from any computer without concern of making your data public. Google automatically saves your downloadable file to your account, and also emails a copy to the address on file.
Once you have access to a personal computer, download the data and store it on your favorite cloud program or a hard drive, or import it directly into another email service. Or simply leave the file for another time; revisit the “Download your data” option in Google to find saved archives, and to create new ones.
Google currently supports downloadable archives in 15 products, including Google+, YouTube, Contact, Blogger, Drive, Hangouts, and Location History. For more, see An Unofficial User’s Guide to Gmail, as well as PCMag’s Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Inbox.