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How to use Gmail offline - Mac, PC and Chromebook

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Find out how to use your Gmail account if you don’t have an active internet connection

Having everything stored in the cloud is brilliant, as it means that all of your data is available from every device. However, there are times where being able to access content offline is extremely useful, either because of an internet problem or because you're travelling. For example, if you want to reply to and read your Gmail messages at all times, you really need to be able to get access to your messages offline. While using an email client is one workaround, you lose some of the abilities of Gmail along the way, such as the powerful search and Labels. Fortunately, there's a different way to work, with the offline version of the service.

Installing the Gmail offline Chrome app

Gmail offline, unsurprisingly, supports offline access, meaning you can read your emails, respond to them and search for them without having an internet connection. When you first start it up, Gmail Offline syncs your messages (up to the last 30 days, plus Starred messages) and any actions you’ve done, so that as soon as you get an internet connection again, everything will be successfully completed. Gmail Offline is an app for Google Chrome only, so you have to use that browser, which is available for Mac, Windows and Chromebooks.


Gmail Offline app

To install the app, go to the Gmail offline Chrome extension in the Chome Webstore. Click 'Add to Chrome' and you’ll be asked if you want to add the app extension to your Chrome browser, so click 'Add App'. Once you’ve successfully downloaded it, you should see an icon in the top right of your Chrome browser and will be able to see it in the list of extensions under Settings -> Extensions.

Now that you’ve got Gmail offline, you can launch it by opening a new tab in Chrome, clicking 'Apps' in the top left corner and going through to Gmail Offline. The first time you run this app you'll be prompted to turn offline mail on, so select 'Allow offline mail' and click Continue. From here you can see your Gmail in a slightly different interface, that doesn’t need to be connected online, with everything there from when your Gmail was last synced up.

Allow offline mail in Gmail settings

It’s as simple as that really, now you don’t have to worry about losing internet connection when you’re halfway through an email and you can rest assured that as soon as you’re back online, you can hit the ground running. Make sure to read our handy guides on how to change your Gmail password and how to recover your Gmail account should you lose access to it.

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