How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .Mbox File

Quick and easy-to-follow guide for Google account users

You can export all or some mail from your Google Workspace mailbox to a .mbox file, and save it on your computer, Google Drive, or some third-party storage services.

All Google Workspace users can do this by default unless an admin disables their ability to do so by turning off the Google Takeout service, as shown here.

You can also export and backup Gmail automatically with our recommended backup services.

What is a mbox file

  • A .mbox file is a standard file that the stores messages of an email mailbox.

When to consider exporting to mbox

  • You may want to export a user’s mailbox to a .mbox file when you want to create a backup of a user’s emails before deleting their account.

Exporting a large mailbox

  • Downloaded zip files over 2GB get compressed in zip64. Then you receive multiple files instead of a single .mbox file containing all your mail.
  • Some older systems may not be able to open this format. In such a case, look for software that can decompress zip64 files.

Other ways to export emails from Gmail

There are alternative solutions:

How to export your Gmail mailbox to a mbox file step-by-step with images

Step 1

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 1

Go to Google Takeout

Under Products, click Deselect all.

Step 2

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 2

Find Mail in the list of products and check the box to its right to enable it.

You can click All Mail data included to select specific labels (folders) from which to export data.

Step 3

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 3

Choose which labels you want to export

Uncheck the Include all messages in Mail box and then select only the labels you want to export.

Step 4

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 4

Click Next step at the bottom.

Step 5

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 5

Your data will be made available as an archive file.

First, choose the delivery method. We usually go with receiving a download link by email. With this option, you will receive an email when your data is ready for download.

The Frequency setting lets you choose if you want only to do a single export or repeat this automatically. 

File type – .zip is the most common.

Make sure the size is enough to fit your data.

​Finally, click Create export.

Step 6

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 6

Your export is in progress. It may take some time, even up to a few days, if you have lots of data to download. You get notified when the link to download your data is ready.

You can also click Cancel export to cancel or Create another export in the meantime.

Step 7

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 7

If you go to the Google Takeout home page and click Manage exports, you will see that the export is in progress. Once it’s ready, you can click Download.

Step 8

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 8

When the export is ready, you will also receive this email notification. Click Download archive to download your data.

Step 9

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 9

How to open mbox files

The archived data gets downloaded to your computer in a .zip file. Open this file or extract it somewhere on your computer to access your data.

Step 10

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 10

Right-click and select Extract Here to extract the files to the same folder where you downloaded the .zip.

Step 11

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 11

You get the Takeout folder. Click to open it.

Step 12

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 12

Inside it is the Mail folder. Click to open it.

How to Export a Gmail Mailbox to a .MBOX File - Step 13

Inside the Mail folder is your .mbox file. This file contains the mail you exported.

You can open this file with Mozilla Thunderbird, which can be downloaded free at You can find other software capable of opening .mbox files on Google Search, but Mozilla Thunderbird is free and very straightforward.

You can also import the .mbox file to another Google Workspace account using Thunderbird, as shown here.

That's all! You reached the end of the article. Continue to:

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