Having switched completely to using Gmail a few months ago I’ve recently started thinking about the consequences of having all my mail in the cloud. If Gmail ever went down or more likely if my Internet connection went down or I was just in some location without Internet access how would I access my existing sent and received Email?

Luckily Gmail allows you to access your mail not only through its website but through POP and IMAP too. To backup your email all you need do is set up an Email client such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird etc. and download your mail onto your computer so you always have a local copy.

To do this you need to go to Settings in Gmail and look at the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab:

GMail Settings

Gmail Settings

By enabling POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded) and configuring your Email client to download your mail using POP all your Gmail mail will be downloaded. Just run your Email client however often you need to and it will download new mail into your local copy.

You might also want to check the option ‘When messages ar accessed with POP’ and make sure that email downloaded with POP are left in your Gmail inbox plus check that your Email client is set to not remove the messages on the server when it has retrieved them!.