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What to do when your Gmail free storage email runs out

Your emails aren’t meant to stay in your inbox forever. Keeping all of your emails in your inbox can make it harder for you to do your work, make your email client slow down, and take up all of your free storage.

Moving your emails to different categorised folders might make your inbox less cluttered and more organised, but archiving your emails is often still the best option.

You can avoid limits and reduce costs if you download your emails off of the server and locally on your computer. If you prefer keeping your emails in the cloud, you can pay for storage in the cloud instead. But when you finally go to archive your emails, it’s important to know the difference between POP3 and IMAP to know what to do.

Understanding email styles: the difference between POP3 and IMAP

IMAP, one of the main email styles, stands for Internet Message Access Protocol and with this type, emails are located on a server rather than a device. The other main email style, POP3, stands for Post Office Protocol, and keeps your emails located on your device.

Because IMAP emails are saved on your server rather than your device, it’s often the better choice. Most people like the flexibility of being able to read their emails on their phones, work computers, home computers, or tablets.

If you’re someone who only uses one device, POP3 may work better as it’s best for single device users who have a large number of emails. The downside of POP3 is you might see your emails disappearing from your inbox if you’re using multiple devices. Generally, people prefer IMAP. When you’re setting up your email address in an email client, you can choose between the two styles.

How to archive your emails

There are a few different ways you can archive your emails depending on how you access your email account and how you’d like to store them. Two of the ways we recommend include:

1. Bulk archive: On your computer, go to your email client and click ‘select all’ in your main inbox. Now, select archive. If you have other organised folders, do they same in each folder. This will work in Apple, Outlook, and Gmail.

2. Download to your computer: With IMAP, all mail syncs with the server. If you create a new local archive folder on your computer and move the mail to that folder, it will also move the emails off the server, saving space. This is a great way to save money if you’ve reached your space limit from your provider and don’t want to pay money to store your emails in the cloud. This technique will let you archive files locally, and makes it easier to search mail (e.g. you can create folders by year).

How often should you archive your emails?

Even if you are keeping your emails in categorised folders, it’s still best to archive your emails every two years.

You can also archive email as you go or once you no longer need to refer to them.

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