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ProtonMail vs Gmail: Which email service is best for you?

ProtonMail can be better for those who need a little more privacy.

Published onMay 30, 2023

Gmail on smartphone stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Whether for personal use or business, email serves as a crucial communication tool, and with so many email services available, choosing the right one can be a challenge. Gmail is the popular choice, but ProtonMail has emerged as an enticing alternative for privacy-minded users. In this ProtonMail vs Gmail showdown, we’ll compare the similarities and differences to help you decide which email service best fits your needs.

What’s the same?

At their core, both Gmail and ProtonMail can send and receive emails, organize them into folders, set up automatic replies, and filter out spam. Both services feature a somewhat simplified and easy-to-use interface and support attachments and in-line images in emails.

Aside from having web versions that work across different browsers, both Gmail and ProtonMail have dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS to access your emails on the go. And they both offer search functions to find past emails easily.

Gmail and ProtonMail provide the flexibility of free and paid plans. Users can start with a free account loaded with essential features and upgrade to a paid plan as they require more storage or advanced features, such as access to Google Vault and Cloud Search or ProtonMail’s custom domain and ProtonVPN service€9.99 at Unknown or discontinued.

What’s different?

Now, let’s look at some key differences between Gmail and ProtonMail:

Privacy and Security

The most significant difference is their approach to privacy and security. ProtonMail, based in Switzerland, emphasizes user privacy and security above all. It uses end-to-end encryption, ensuring that your emails are secure from the moment they leave your device until they reach the recipient. It also doesn’t log IP addresses.

Gmail, on the other hand, while secure, doesn’t offer the same level of privacy. Google does scan your emails to serve personalized ads, which may concern privacy-conscious users.

Features and Functionality

Gmail offers a range of features like Google Meet integration, Google Chat, smart replies, and the ability to undo sent emails. It also seamlessly integrates with the entire Google ecosystem, including Google Drive and Google Calendar, providing an all-in-one solution for many users.

ProtonMail is more straightforward, focusing on providing a secure email service. It doesn’t have as many integrated tools or services but offers features like self-destructing emails and encrypted contacts.

Storage and Pricing

Gmail provides 15 GB of free storage, shared across Google services. If you need more, you’ll have to upgrade to Google One, starting at $1.99/month for 100 GB.

ProtonMail’s free version only gives 500 MB of storage. You’ll have to upgrade to their paid plans to get more storage and features, starting at €4/month (around $5) for 5 GB.

ProtonMail vs Gmail: Which should you choose?

Gmail on smartphone stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you prioritize privacy and data security, then ProtonMail is the way to go. It offers end-to-end encryption and has a no-logs policy, making it a solid choice if you are sending sensitive information.

On the other hand, if you want more features and seamless integration with other services, and more free storage space, then Gmail will be more suitable. Ultimately, the best email service depends on your specific needs. If you aren’t satisfied with either, check out our list of the best email apps for Android for more options.

ProtonMail vs Gmail: Frequently asked questions

Yes, ProtonMail is safe. It uses end-to-end encryption, doesn’t log IP addresses, and is based in Switzerland, a country known for strong privacy laws.

Yes, ProtonMail offers a basic free version. However, for more storage and additional features, they offer paid plans.

Yes, ProtonMail is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

ProtonMail is privacy-focused and does not log user data, but absolute anonymity cannot be guaranteed. While you can open an account without personal information, factors like your IP address can potentially be traced by your ISP or governments.

Gmail doesn’t natively support text messages (SMS). However, you can send emails to a phone number via the carrier’s email-to-SMS gateway if the recipient’s carrier supports it.

Yes, Gmail uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption for sending and receiving mail when possible. However, it does not use end-to-end encryption like ProtonMail.

Yes, you can delete a Gmail account. However, be aware that you will lose all the data and content in that account, including emails and photos. We recommend backing up any important info before deleting your account.

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