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Gmail now has Snapchat-style self-deleting messages

Gmail now has a confidential mode feature, which enables Snapchat-style self-deleting emails.
August 17, 2018
confidential mode settings in gmail for android
  • Confidential mode has come to Gmail, bringing self-deleting messages to the email service.
  • The feature allows you to specify an expiration date or manually revoke access to a message.
  • The new feature also disables the ability to forward, copy, print or download these emails.

Google has delivered several neat email features over the years, and now it’s adding another one with confidential mode for Gmail. As the name suggests, the new feature allows you to send and receive “confidential” emails — so what does that mean?

According to Google’s support website, confidential emails have a sender-defined expiration date (from one day to five years), but access to the email can also be revoked at any time. Additionally, recipients can’t forward, copy, print or download these emails.

The sender of a confidential email can also require recipients to enter a passcode (sent via SMS or email) to open the message. SMS-based passcodes are the only option if your recipient is using a Gmail account — recipients using another email service can receive either SMS or email passcodes. Unfortunately, SMS-based passcodes are only supported in Europe, India, Japan, North America, and South America.

Unlike Snapchat with its screenshot alerts however, Gmail still allows recipients to take screenshots of confidential emails. So if you’re truly worried about information leaking out, this isn’t a perfect solution by any means.

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To enable confidential mode for an email on Android, you’ll need to compose a new message, then tap the three-dot menu > confidential mode. To enable the option on your computer, you’ll need to be using the new Gmail interface. From here, you tap compose > confidential mode (it’s the padlock icon with a clock on it). To manually revoke access to a confidential email on Android, open the sent message and tap the remove access option at the bottom of the email.

Confidential mode isn’t available for G Suite customers yet, but you should be seeing it on your personal Gmail accounts. What do you make of the new feature anyway? What else would you like to see in Gmail? Let us know in the comments!