A Headache-Free Approach To Migrating Your Emails From Google To iCloud

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Google seems to be the winner when it comes to cloud email anymore, but that doesn’t stop people from making the jump to Mac and iOS for iCloud. Syncing from Google’s services to iCloud isn’t always the easiest and most reliable thing out there, so if you need to make the move, here’s the way to migrate your email from Google to iCloud.

Copy Gmail Messages to iCloud Email

If you plan on using your iCloud email account INSTEAD of your Gmail account, you can move your messages over so you can still search your old Gmail messages along with your new iCloud messages easily. If you don’t have an iCloud email address, turn on Mail in your iCloud settings using iOS or OS X.

Follow these steps to get your email messages over from Gmail to Apple’s Mail.app and iCloud. You’ll be using Mail.app on the Mac to get your contacts into iCloud, you don’t need to use Mail.app after this, but for moving messages, it’s really your best option.

Step 1: Setup Gmail and iCloud Accounts in Apple Mail

First, set up both your Gmail and iCloud accounts in Mail.app. Your Gmail account should be set to IMAP. To set up your iCloud account, just add the account in the Apple Mail Settings window by entering your iCloud email address and password.

Step 2: Setup Apple Mail and Apply a Single Label to Gmail Emails

Next, open up Mail.app and allow all your messages to download from Gmail and iCloud. Depending on the number of messages you have, this can take a little bit. Next, it’s time to move the messages over. Before you start moving things, click on the Sent Messages folder for the Gmail account. With this selected, go to the Mailbox menu > Use This Mailbox For > Sent. Repeat this with the Deleted folder as well.

Note: Before you download messages to Mail.app, it’s a good idea to try your best to give messages in Gmail only one label. Mail.app handles labels differently than Gmail and as such, will download duplicates for any email that has more than one label.

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Step 3: Copy Email from Gmail to iCloud

With all these preliminary steps done, it’s time to start moving messages. Go to your Gmail inbox in Mail.app and hit CMD + A on your keyboard. This will select all of your messages in one step. Right click on any of the messages and select Copy To > Inbox under your iCloud account.

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This action will copy all your inbox messages from Gmail to iCloud. Don’t drag-and-drop emails as this will remove them from Gmail, which isn’t a great idea just yet.

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Step 4: Copy Gmail Folders to iCloud Account

With the Inbox move under your belt, you can move the rest of the folders you created over. Create a new folder in the iCloud account for each one you move over in Gmail. To do this, just right-click on any folder in your iCloud inbox and choose New Mailbox.

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The only folders you shouldn’t do this for are:

  • All Mail
  • Important
  • Starred
  • Spam

Note: Even though the Sent folder isn’t a user folder, make sure to move the messages here over as well.

Note: With very large folders, you might run into an error here and there. If a folder errors out, just delete the copied messages in the iCloud folder and start again.

Step 5: Delete All Messages in Gmail Folders

At this point, you should have most of your messages copied over. The only emails that still need to be migrated now are the ones that don’t have a label. This is where previously not deleting those Gmail messages comes in handy. Once you’ve moved all the messages that are in folders, go back into the Gmail folders using the Mail.app interface and delete all the messages in them. This includes Sent, Inbox, and all the user-created folders.

Step 6: Copy Remaining Gmail Messages to iCloud Account

Once these folder emails are deleted, click on the All Mail folder in Mail.app under your Gmail account. Copy all of the remaining messages that were not in folders over to the Archive folder under your iCloud account.

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This will archive all the label-less messages and with this step complete, you should now have all emails from Gmail moved over to iCloud.

Tip: If you’d rather have your Gmail messages archived and not deleted, just log into your Gmail account via a web browser and move them from the Trash to your inbox, then archive them.

Wrap-Up

If you follow the steps above, all of your emails will now be in iCloud. If you’re combining multiple Gmail accounts under one iCloud account, you can repeat the steps above for each Gmail account you are merging.

There is obviously more information to move over than just email messages, but for now, this is a great place to start. In future posts, you’ll see how to move Calendars and Contacts to iCloud over as well.

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