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How to enable Gmail's new offline mode

So long, clunky Chrome extension! Now you can use Gmail even if you're not connected. Here's how.

Good news, Gmail users: You no longer have to be online to read, reply to and compose messages. At yesterday's Google I/O conference (which also made Android P available to beta testers), Google flipped the switch to finally, finally allow offline mail.

Ready to give it a try? First things first: This is available only for Chrome users. Second, you'll need to switch over to the new Gmail, which Google has rolled out to most accounts but hasn't yet made the default. If you try to enable offline mode from the "old" Gmail, you'll end up with the limited old Chrome extension.


Once you've switched over to the new Gmail, tick this box to enable offline Gmail.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Once you've made the switch, click the Settings icon (which still resembles a gear), then the Settings menu option.

Next, click Offline, then the box alongside Enable offline mail.

Now you'll have to make three decisions:

  1. How many days' worth of messages do you want stored on your laptop? Gmail lets you choose between 7, 30 and 90. Unless you're really strapped for storage, I recommend choosing 90 days -- because why limit your backlog? If you want to retrieve an older message while offline, you should be able to.
  2. Download attachments? Definitely yes, unless storage is an issue. There's not much value in making mail available offline if the attachments aren't available as well.
  3. What happens to your data when you log out of your Google account? Most users will probably prefer the "Keep offline data" option, if only because deleting it will result in a potentially lengthy resync the next time you log in.

With those options set, click Save Changes and you're done!