Help me archive email from a GMail account on an ongoing basis
February 19, 2015 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to export past and future emails received by a pair of GMail accounts to my own local disk, or some other (non-Google) archiving solution. I'd like to do this automatically and regularly, with minimal intervention, without adding these accounts to my primary mail client. Hope me?

Years ago, I got my kids their own GMail accounts so that the far-away grandparents could write to them and they would have an archive of those letters when they were older. Since then, GMail decided that everyone should be upgraded to a Google+ account. My first mistake: I gave in to the nagging and said yes. My second mistake: when it asked for an associated birth date, I failed to lie. Google let me know that Google+ accounts were forbidden for anyone under 16 (or 14, or whatever) and that they were going to delete the profile and all associated data unless it was just a typo. I had used a credit card to pay them 30 cents to prove that "I" was, in fact, old enough to have an account. That incredibly user-hostile interaction has convinced me that I need to copy all the email received by these addresses - both the past email, and the future stuff on a regular (weekly? monthly?) basis - to local storage.
  • I already use IMAP with GMail for my own personal account, but I don't really want to add the kids' accounts to my primary mail client (Apple Mail) or my user account, unless there's no other option.
  • I could create a new user on my computer and log in once a week to retrieve mail, but that requires my attention. I'd like the process to be regular and automatic.
  • I can set up forwarding for future email, but the past email is priceless. I thought I was saving it for the long term via archiving on GMail but I've lost all confidence in them after this interaction.
  • I don't have any problem with leaving a copy on GMail for long term archiving as well. No POP solutions!
  • We're talking about very low email volume for now, at least until the kids are old enough to use email on their own. But in future, they'll get the keys and use these accounts, if email is still a thing.
What's the best way to go about this?
posted by RedOrGreen to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you're comfortable with command line stuff, take a look at gmvault.
posted by primethyme at 2:19 PM on February 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Google Takeout would get you started right away. You will get an mbox format file which you can then import into a local email client such as Thunderbird. Of course, this would not be ongoing. I do not know an automated solution. But every time you start Thunderbird, it would pull all the missing email.

On Windows there is also Mailstore Home, but again, not automated.
posted by nostrada at 3:24 PM on February 19, 2015

I use Cloudpull to back up Google data to my local Mac. (App author is a friend, but it works well regardless.)
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:48 PM on February 19, 2015

I would set up a new account, login both accounts via Mozilla Thunderbird's desktop program to drag and drop all the old emails into the new emails inbox/sent folders. (You can copy and not move the email if you wish.) Then for future emails, either go into IMAP/POP settings and set up the email to also go into another account, or just setup a filter and forward the email.
posted by AppleTurnover at 6:16 PM on February 19, 2015

gmvault will do this.
posted by devnull at 12:19 AM on February 20, 2015

I've used gmail backup
it's not super smart though, but it does what it says on the tin, and won't re-download messages if you backup to the same directory.
posted by defcom1 at 7:00 AM on February 20, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for the pointers to gmvault - that looks like exactly what I'm looking for. Cloudpull looks interesting, maybe, but I really don't want any interaction with my regular Mail, and if gmvault does what it says on the tin, it'll be perfect.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:41 AM on February 23, 2015

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