Attachments: View, download, and save


When you receive an email with attachments, you’ll see thumbnails of the attachments at the bottom of your message.

Attachment thumbnail

Click the attachment thumbnail to instantly view the attachment or see more options like print and share.

Attachment thumbnail hover

Move your mouse over the attachment thumbnail and use the buttons to quickly Download attachment icon Download or Save to Drive icon Save to Drive (depending on the type of attachment).

In some cases you may not be able to download or save to Drive because different types of attachments have different available options. For example, YouTube videos added to the email as links can only be viewed or shared.

Common questions

Where do my attachments go after downloading?

Your attachments are saved to your computer in the default download location set by your browser. You can find out where your downloads go by going to your browser’s settings. If you use Google Chrome, learn more about your download location for Chrome.

How does “Save to Drive” work?

Google Drive gives you a single place on the web to store and access your files from anywhere. Instead of trying to find your attachments in various emails, you can keep them all organized in Google Drive.

Example: Planning a wedding

Katherine is planning her wedding and gets lots of emails with attachments like photos and menus. She needs to easily share these files with everyone helping with the wedding, so whenever she gets an attachment, she clicks Save to Drive icon Save to Drive and adds it to her Wedding folder. Later, she opens Google Drive and shares the folder with everyone.

What happens to my file after I save to Drive?

After you click the Save to Drive icon Save to Drive button on the attachment thumbnail, the attachment is immediately saved to Google Drive and you’ll have the option to organize your file by adding it to a Google Drive folder. After saving, you can click Show in Drive icon Show in Drive to find your file in Google Drive.

You can always access the files you’ve saved to Google Drive by going to

Learn more about Google Drive.

How do I download or share a photo if nothing happens when I click?

If you tried to click or hover over a photo and nothing happened, the photo was probably added as an image within the body of the message, not as an attachment to the message. Here are a few options to access images within messages:

  • Download: Right-click the photo and choose the option to save the image.
  • Share: Some images can be shared directly with Google+. Hover over the image and look for the Share button in the bottom corner of the photo.
  • Save to Drive: Download the photo to your computer and then upload to Google Drive.

More options

Include attachments when replying or forwarding

By default, the original attachments are included when you forward a message, but aren’t included when you reply to a message.

To include the original attachments when replying, click the More options drop-down arrow small down arrow at the bottom of the reply box and select Include original attachments.

Gmail Compose More options screenshot

If you don’t want to include the original attachments, click the X to the right of the filename at the bottom of the message.

Gmail Compose Remove attachment

Download, save, or share all attachments at once

If you see icons in the corner directly above the attachments, that means you can download, save, or share all of the attachments at once.

Gmail bulk actions for attachments

View attachments in a new tab

If you’d rather view attachments in a new tab, hold Ctrl or while you click the attachment thumbnail.

Android 4.0+

When you receive an email with attachments, you’ll see the attachments at the bottom of your message.

Save photos

To save or share a picture, touch the thumbnail to view the image and touch Menu ( or your device’s menu button).

If the photo thumbnail isn’t below the word “Attachments” at the bottom of the email, you’ll have to open the email on a computer and right-click the photo to save it.

Open or save files

File attachment

To open a file, touch the filename. For some files, like PDF or zip files, you may have to download an app from Google Play that can open that type of file.

To save files, touch Menu next to the attachment and choose Save.

To save files in Google Drive, touch Menu next to the attachment and choose Save to Drive.

Android 2.2-2.3

The Gmail app for Android allows you to view and download certain types of attachments on your device.

Supported file types

Support for attachments depends on your device and the applications you've installed.

  1. Images: On most devices, there's attachment support for images (.jpg, or .png).
  2. Documents: On some devices, support extends to documents (.doc), spreadsheets (.xls), and PDFs (.pdf).

Adding or sending attachments

It's only possible to add attachments from the Gallery app when composing a message in the Gmail app.

  1. While composing a message, press Menu and touch Attach to attach a photo to the message.
  2. If you change your mind, touch the X to the right of an attachment to remove it from your message.

If you forward a message, the Gmail app will keep and forward any attachments from the original message. The attachment(s) will not be included when replying, only when forwarding.

Saving attachments

Attachments you download are stored on your phone’s USB storage or SD card. Image files are added to albums in Gallery.

This information is for the official Gmail app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Save to your phone's photo gallery

  1. Open a message with an attachment.
  2. Touch the attached photo.
  3. Touch the Share button Share button.
  4. Choose Save to Photos.

To download a photo attachment for the first time, you’ll need to allow Gmail access to photos you’ve taken on your device.

Note: Photos that are embedded within the message can’t be saved to your Photo Gallery. The photo must be added as an attachment.

Save to Drive

  1. Open a message with an attachment.
  2. Click the Drive icon insert from Drive on the image thumbnail.
  3. Wait for the Saved to Drive confirmation message at the bottom of the screen.

My photo wasn’t saved to my Photo Gallery

Your photos from Gmail may not save to your Photo Gallery if you haven’t allowed Gmail to access your photos. To allow access, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app for your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and choose Privacy, then Photos.
  3. Switch on Gmail.

Learn more about iOS 6 privacy settings.

Learn More