How To Safely Switch Your Email Accounts Without Losing Data

Switching an old email account may look like a daunting task as you might worry about losing previous email messages, contacts, and other data in the process.

If you have two email accounts from the same email service, you can just add the other account to the same profile and switch whenever you want. However, if you want to switch across different platforms; say Gmail and Outlook, it takes a little longer before you can migrate to the new account.

To safely switch email accounts, you basically do two things; import data from the old account and then set up a forwarding mechanism to receive all the upcoming email messages in the new account.

How to Switch from One Gmail Account to Another Gmail/Outlook Account? 

To move emails and contacts from your old Gmail account to the new one, you must first enable POP access on the old one. Then, you can start importing all emails and contacts into the new account. Finally, you can set up automatic forwarding to receive every mail from the old account to the new one.

Step 1: Configure Essential Settings on the Old Gmail Account

  1. First, sign in to your old Gmail account.
  2. Click the gear icon in the top-right corner and select See all settings.
  3. Under the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab, select the Enable POP for all mail option.
  1. Then, under the When messages are accessed with POP section, select the delete Gmail’s copy option to delete the old messages after copying them to the new account. Or, if you wish to keep the old account and its messages, select other options according to your preferences.

Alternatively, you can also set up IMAP and use it to switch to another Outlook account. On the same Forwarding section, you can find the necessary configuration instructions next to the IMAP access field.

Step 2: Import All the Old Email Messages and Contacts to the New Account

  1. Log in to your new Gmail account and open its settings, like in the above steps.
  2. Then, under the Accounts and Import tab, click Import mail and contacts.
  3. On the next prompt, enter the old email address (Gmail) you want to import from.
  4. Log in to the old account when prompted and allow the necessary permissions.
  5. When you reach the Import options window, select the options to import old and new upcoming emails /contacts from the old account. Then, click Start import.

The import process can take some time depending on the number of emails and contacts you have on the old account.

Step 3: Forward Every Mail From the Old Account to the New One

If you don’t want to delete the old email account, but still keep receiving every new mail from it on the new account, you can set up mail forwarding. 

  1. Login to the old Gmail account from whose emails you want to forward.
  2. Go to the Gmail settings.
  3. Under Forwarding and POP/IMAP, click Add a forwarding address.
  1. On the next prompt, enter the new email address (Gmail or Outlook) you want to use and click Next.
  1. On the next prompt, click Proceed.
  2. Open the verification mail link on the new email address. Then, click Confirm.
  3. Now, go to the old Gmail account and under the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section, make sure you have selected the Forward a copy of incoming mail to option with the new email address.  Also, select “delete Gmail’s copy” to skip the old account and get all the upcoming messages in the new account. Or, if you want to save a copy in the old account, select other available options.
  4. Click Save Changes.

You can even create a filter that forwards a particular type of email you receive on the old account.

Step 4: Update All the Accounts Linked to the Old Email Address

Once you have configured all the necessary settings to use the new Gmail account, consider updating all the accounts which are previously linked to the old email address.

On the other hand, notify other people about your new email address so that they send emails to your new account. Since it isn’t convenient to notify each person manually, you can set up an auto-reply in Gmail. By doing so, they can reach out to you on your new Gmail account.

  1. Log in to your old Gmail account.
  2. Go to the Gmail settings.
  3. Under the General tab, scroll down to the bottom and select the Vacation responder on option.
  4. Write a message to automatically reply and notify the senders about your new email address. Configure other options according to your preferences.
  5. When done, click Save Changes.

How to Switch from One Outlook to Another Outlook/Gmail Account?

Switching from Outlook to Gmail is even easier. You can just add the Gmail account in the Outlook desktop app. This way, you don’t need to log in to Gmail and can access all your Gmail messages from within the Outlook app. 

To add Gmail account, you can just follow Step 2. But, if you are switching from one Outlook email to another, you need to go through all the steps below.

Step 1: Export Outlook Email and Contacts 

  1. Launch the Outlook desktop app.
  2. Click the File menu at the top bar and select Options on the sidebar.
  3. Then, select the Advanced tab.
  4. In the right pane, click the Export button under the Export section.
  5. On the next window, select Export to a file.
  6. Next, select the Outlook Data File option and click Next.
  7. Select the Outlook account. Also, enable the Include subfolders checkbox to select everything inside it.
  8. Then, select an appropriate option based on whether you want any duplicate emails on the new account or not.
  1. Set up a password for the PST file and note it somewhere safe for later.

Step 2: Add the New Outlook/Gmail Account

  1. Now, open the Outlook app and select File > Info.
  2. Then, click Add Account.
  3. On the next prompt, enter your Gmail address and click Connect.
  4. On the next prompt, sign in to your Gmail account and allow permissions.
  1. Open the Outlook app and now you can access Gmail from within the Outlook app.

Step 3: Import Everything from the PST File

Once you have exported the PST file, you now need to import it to the new Outlook account to access all the old Outlook data such as messages, drafts, and more. You can also use the PST to migrate Outlook to a new PC.

  1. Launch the Outlook app.
  2. Select the File menu at the top.
  3. Then, select Open & Export on the sidebar and click Import/Export.
  1. On the next prompt, choose Import from another program or file option and click Next.
    Import-PST on PC
  1. Then, select Outlook Data File option and click Next.
  2. Then, click the Browse button and select the PST file you previously exported from the old Outlook account.
  3. Enter the password you set up for the data file.
  4. Expand Outlook Data File and select what items you want to keep on the new Outlook account. Also, choose whether you want to import them on the same folder on the new account and other settings according to your preferences.
  1. Click Finish when done.

Step 4: Set Up Forwarding 

Now, that you have access to the old emails and other data, set up a forward mechanism to receive all future emails on the old account. 

  1. Open the Outlook app.
  2. Select File > Info.
  3. On the right pane, click Manage rules and alerts.
  4. Next, under the Email Rules, select the old email account next to the Apply changes to this folder field.
  1. Then, click New Rule.
  2. Select the Apply rule on messages I receive option under the Start from a blank rule and click Next.
  3. On the next prompt, choose the options to forward particular emails on your new account. If you want every mail to appear on the new account, simply click Next and go to the next step.
  4. Then, enable the forward it to people or public group checkbox. Also, click the people or public group link.
  5. Enter the new Outlook email address next to the To field.
  6. Next, enable the checkboxes to avoid forwarding certain types of mails.
  7. Then, name the rule and check the Turn on this rule checkbox. 
  1. Click Finish.
  2. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

Step 5: Notify Others about Your New Email Address

Similar to Gmail’s vacation feature, you can send automatic replies to notify people who send messages to the old email address.

  1. Open Outlook and select File > Info.
  2. On the right pane, click Automatic Replies.
  3. On the next prompt. select the Send automatic replies option. On the description box below, write a message to inform others about your new email.
  4. Additionally, adjust the date and time range you want to send the replies.
  5. Click OK.

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