Download your data: FAQ

Why is it important that I have access to this data?
It's important that you can access your Google data when you want it, where you want it - whether is it to import it into another service or just create your own copy for your archives.

People usually don't look to see if they can get their data out of a product until they decide that they want to leave. For this reason, we always encourage you to ask these three questions before starting to use a product that will store your data:

  • Can I get my data out in an open, interoperable, portable format?
  • How much is it going to cost to get my data out?
  • How much of my time is it going to take to get my data out?

The ideal answers to these questions are:

  • Yes.
  • Nothing more than I'm already paying.
  • As little as possible.

There shouldn't be an additional charge to export your data. Beyond that, if it takes you weeks to get your data, it's almost as bad as not being able to get your data out at all.

What is this? How does it work?
From your account settings you can quickly and easily download data that you created in (or imported into) a number of Google products. Data is provided in a variety of open, portable formats so you can easily import the data into other internet services. For example, we export your contacts in the vCard format, which is supported by most popular email programs including Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook.

Why does it take so long to create an archive?
The time it takes to create an archive depends on a number of factors, such as how much data you have stored in the service you are taking your data from. Our service will work on creating your archive as quickly as possible, and will send you an email when your archive is complete so you can start to download it.

Why was my archive broken into multiple zip files?
Zip files have a size limit of 2GB, so archives that are larger than 2GB are split into multiple .zip files. Selecting the .tgz or .tbz format for your archive will increase the size limit to 50GB, so it is much less likely that your archive will be split. Note that special software may be required to unpack a .tgz or .tbz archive.

Why do my archives expire?
After a certain amount of time it probably makes more sense to create a new archive with your most recent data than to download an old archive. This utility is not meant to be a storage facility, just a means to access your data, so we only keep the archive as long as necessary to allow you to retrieve it. Having your archive expire does not mean that data has expired however, and you won't experience any change in using Google services as a result of your archive expiring.

My archive hasn’t expired, but I can’t download it. Why?
To prevent abuse we only allow the same archive to be downloaded 5 times.

Why can't I create an unlimited number of archives?
This service is designed for occasional use to retrieve a copy of your data from Google--typically for purposes of having a backup of your data or to import it into another service. To ensure that this resource-intensive process is always available for our users, we limit the rate at which a single user can create archives.

What formats are used for my exported data?
When possible, we use open formats for your data that are supported by similar non-Google services. Learn about the types of formats for exported data.

Which format should I choose for my data?
Deciding what format you should choose depends on the service, type of data, and your intended use of the data. We have selected default file types that we believe are the most useful and portable, but we often provide additional options. Learn about the types of files we offer and which might be most useful to you.

When will data from Google products not listed here be available to download?
We're doing our best to add products as quickly as we can, but even if a product's data isn't available through this service, there is usually a way to get your data. If you’re looking for a particular service, let us know.

Why do I have to enter my password again when I try to download my archive?
The security of your data is incredibly important, so when you create an archive, we want to make absolutely certain that you are the person downloading your data. To ensure this we ask you to re-authenticate your Google credentials if you haven't recently. We understand that this may be inconvenient, but it's important to take extra precautions when it comes to your data.

If you have 2-step verification enabled on your account, you may also be asked for an additional verification code that we'll send to your phone.

I just tried to create an archive and it didn’t work. What do I do now?
First, we're sorry for the inconvenience. Please try creating the archive again and, if the problem persists, let us know and we'll look into it.

What are HTML microformats?
Microformats are pieces of additional information embedded in HTML documents to help a machine understand the type of information present in the file. Most of the HTML files in your archive will have microformat information embedded to make it easier for a machine to parse the stored information. This information has no impact on the way the file will look when viewed in a web browser.

Read more about microformats.

How do I preserve my Gmail labels if I am exporting my mail?
When you export your mail from Gmail, each message's labels are preserved in a special X-Gmail-Labels header, in CSV format. While no mail client recognizes this header now, most mail clients allow for extensions to be written that could make use of this data.

I'm a Google Apps customer. What are my options to export my organization's data?
See Migrate data away from Google Apps for options on how to migrate your organization's email, calendars, documents, and sites, including Google APIs you can use.