How to send self-destructing emails using Gmail?

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Data Privacy & Security

How to send self-destructing emails using Gmail?

What we are going to talk about today is probably one of the coolest features Gmail has come up with, in the last few years.

Unlike Hollywood movies, where the message triggers the device to explode after 10 seconds or so, here the email is just going to disappear.

It is definitely a substantial step towards securing the privacy of people who do not want their emails to get leaked to unwanted people and set an expiry date for the same.

Let us see how it works.

Confidential Mode in Gmail

The Gmail confidential mode lets you decide how long an email stays in the recipient’s inbox before getting completely vanished.

To turn on the Confidential Mode, click on the ‘Compose’ to create a new email to be sent out and click o the lock with a clock icon at the bottom of the ‘New Message’ window.

send self-destructing emails using Gmail

In mobile, click on the pencil icon to compose a new email and then click on the 3 dots on the top right & then select ‘Confidential Mode’.

An option screen will come up asking you to specify the duration for which you want the message to stay in the recipient’s inbox. It can be a minimum of 1 day to a maximum of 5 years.

For additional security, you can enable access to your email via an SMS passcode (generated by Google). You need to specify the phone number you want the passcode to be sent to.

send self-destructing emails using Gmail

Recipients who are not Gmail users will get an email passcode to authenticate and access your email.

What if after sending the email, you realize that you want to revoke the access to open the email before the expiration date?

Well, you can do that.

Just go the ‘Sent’ folder and click on the sent email and click on ‘Remove Access’ at the bottom of the message.

send self-destructing emails using Gmail

On the opposite, if your email has already expired and you want to restore the recipient’s access to open the email, just click on ‘Renew Access’ at the bottom right of the sent email.

Important Points to Note

  • The clock starts ticking right after you send the email irrespective of when the recipient opens it.
  • You cannot send ‘self-destructive’ reply emails. It only works when you compose and send a new email.
  • It prohibits the recipient from forwarding, copying/pasting, or downloading the contents of the email. However, screenshots can still be taken.
  • You must have the latest version of Gmail on your mobile, tablet or desktop devices in order to get this feature.

I believe this certainly is a notable advancement in terms of letting people secure the information they share via email, but it still has a long way to go.

What do you think?

Comment (1)

  1. DSA

    This feature is extremely useful. I very much appreciate you alerting us to this and I have passed it along to a number of friends / business associates that I know will begin using it immediately. Keep up the good work.
    PS – As a reader of your work, I’d like to see dates on your posts.

    February 21, 2021 at 12:52 pm

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