How to Send Self Destructing Emails in Gmail With Confidential Mode


Google's Gmail has just got the most awaited feature known as the confidential mode. Recently Gmail has got an updated design and confidential mode is a part of its new look. With confidential mode, any Gmail user will now have more control over the emails that he/she would send to other users.

With confidential mode, you can set time limits for any email that you send. After that time limit is reached the email self-destructs. It is currently a nice option that you can use to send confidential messages. Though we don't suggest you use it for your banking or OTP purposes. So, in this article, we will teach you everything about the Gmail confidential mode.

What is Gmail Confidential Mode and How Does it Work?

The concept of Gmail's confidential mode is similar to self-destructing emails. While composing an email you first set an expiry date. Secondly, you'll have an option to set a passcode for that email. If you set a passcode then you have to enter the mobile number of that email account holder.

The email composed with confidential mode will always reside on Google servers rather than actually being in your Gmail inbox. Gmail sends an email with a link that can only be viewed on Google servers (confidential-mail.google.com). Once the time limit is reached the receiver will no longer have access to that email.

One thing to note here is that if you don't set any passcode for an email and send it to non-Gmail users then these users will still have to authenticate themselves with a passcode. If they can't authenticate then they can't even see the email's content.

The options to forward, print, copy/paste and the right click are by-default disabled. You'll still the option to print that email but when you click it nothing will print except a big white space in the email body.

How to Use Gmail Confidential Mode on Windows/Mac (Web Interface)

Follow the tutorial below if you are using Gmail on a PC or Mac computer to compose a self-destructing email.

  • Go to mail.google.com on your Windows or Mac computer and log in with your account.
  • Click 'Compose' button below the 'Gmail' logo in the top left corner.
  • Clicking this compose button will open the Gmail email composer form.
  • Here you'll see a lock with a clock on it. Click this button to open settings for the confidential mode.

enable gmail confidential mode


  • First of all, you have to set an 'Expiry Date' for your email. Under the 'SET EXPIRY' option select the option between 1 Day to 5 Years (both options included). After that expiry date is reached Gmail will automatically revoke access to that particular email.
Self Destructing Emails in Gmail
  • Now under 'REQUIRE PASSCODE' you will have to options 'No SMS Passcode' and 'SMS Passcode'. Select any of the two options. If you are setting a passcode then you will have to enter the cell phone number of that email recipient.
  • Finally, click 'SAVE' and start writing your email with subject and recipient's email address.
  • Once the email gets composed click the 'Send' button to send it.

How to Use Gmail Confidential Mode on Android/iOS Gmail App

Use this tutorial if you are composing confidential emails on iOS or Android Gmail app.
  • Open the Gmail app and click the 'Red' compose button (pencil button).
  • When the email composer opens click the menu button (three dots) in the top right corner and tap 'Confidential mode'.

  • Here again, you'll have to set the expiration date and select whether to use a passcode or not. Here 'Standard' passcode means no passcode for Gmail users. But non-Gmail users will still have to authenticate via a passcode before viewing the email.
  • After making the settings tap 'SAVE'. Now compose your email and send it to the desired recipient.

How to View Confidential Emails in Gmail

If someone sends you a confidential email message in an email then he or she will send it with or without a passcode. If the sender didn't use a passcode then you can directly view the message in your Gmail. You still don't have any options to copy, paste, forward, or print that email message.

If the sender used a passcode for that email then he had entered your mobile number while composing the confidential email. So whenever you receive such an email then you first have to authenticate yourself by getting a passcode on the cell phone number that the sender used for composing that email.

Note: Please note that passcodes require you to enter mobile number with the right country code. If you don't enter a country code then the first few digits of the cell phone number will be treated as a country code which finally let Gmail to send passcodes to a non-existent number.

How to Save The Gmail Confidential Emails

Currently, there is no option to save or print an email composed via the confidential mode. But you can take a screenshot of that email before it expires. This is the only way to save a copy of this confidential email.

So, this was everything about the Gmail's confidential mode. Its a nice move to improve email security. Since email is not a safe way to communicate, Gmail encryption may not always protect your emails. You should never use it to send personal information at any cost.


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