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  • Writer's pictureMarie Robertson-King

Google Confidential Emails

Did you know you can send confidential emails with GMail?

You can send messages and attachments with Gmail's confidential mode to help protect sensitive information - think bank account details, credit card details etc.

Confidential mode lets you set an expiry date for messages. It also allows you to revoke access at any time. Recipients of the confidential message will not be able to forward, copy, print, or download the message. 

So how do you send a confidential message?

On your computer:

  • Open GMail in your browser

  • Click "compose"

  • In the bottom of the email window, click the "confidential mode" icon to turn it on

Click the "confidential mode" icon
  • The confidential mode window will pop up

  • Set the expiry date and whether you want the recipient to have to enter a passcode

  • These settings impact both the message text and any attachments

  • If you choose "No SMS passcode," recipients using the Gmail app will be able to open it directly

  • Recipients who don't use Gmail will get emailed a passcode

  • If you choose "SMS passcode," recipients will get a passcode by text message (make sure you enter the recipient's phone number, not your own)

  • Click "save"

  • Compose your email and send as normal

If you've already turned on confidential mode for an email, go to the bottom of the email, then click Edit to make any changes.

On your iPhone / iPad:

  • Open your Gmail app

  • Click "+" on the bottom right hand side of the screen

  • Click "..." on the top right hand side of the screen

  • Click "confidential mode"

  • Set the expiry and whether you want the recipient to have to enter a passcode

  • Click "✔️" on the top right hand side of the screen

  • Compose your email and send as normal

If you need to remove access early

You can stop your recipient from viewing the email before the expiry date:

  • Open Gmail

  • Go to your sent folder

  • Open the confidential email

  • Click "remove access"

If you receive an email sent with confidential mode

  • You can view the message and attachments until the expiration date or until the sender revokes your access

  • Options to copy, paste, download, print, and forward the message text and attachments will be disabled

  • You might need to enter a passcode to open the email, depending on the mail client you're using


  1. If you don't see the 'confidential mode' icon at the bottom of your email window, you will need to switch confidential mode on in your Google Admin settings. Get in touch if you need help with how to do that

  2. Although confidential mode helps prevent the recipients from accidentally sharing your email, it doesn't prevent recipients from taking screenshots or photos of your messages or attachments. Recipients who have malicious programs on their computer may still be able to copy or download your messages or attachments.

  3. If you're using Gmail with a work or school account, you may have to contact your admin to make sure you can use confidential mode.




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Marie is a Virtual Assistant based in Perth

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