Explained: What is Gmail confidential mode and how can it help you secure your emails

Google has a little-known feature that can help you send sensitive information over Gmail. The feature is known as confidential mode and it has to be enabled manually. Gmail confidential mode has been there for some time now but very few users seem to know about it. What it essentially does is it prevents emails from getting forwarded, copied or printed. Also, the receiver can’t download messages or attachments. Having said that, the receiver of the email can take screenshots of the same.
Google claims that confidential mode helps prevent recipients from accidentally sharing messages. But it also warns that recipients can also use malicious software applications to copy or download messages and attachments.
What can you do with Gmail confidential mode
With Gmail confidential mode you can set a message expiration date, revoke message access at any time and require a verification code by text to open messages. Also, confidential mode messages can’t be scheduled for sending. In other words, you will have full control over the message you send to someone while using the confidential mode.
To set the expiration date of a message in confidential mode, click on the Confidential Mode icon (represented with a clock and lock icon) -> select expiration date and SMS passcode (in case you want to) and then send the mail. You can set the expiration date between 1 day and 5 years.
How to turn Gmail confidential mode on
Gmail confidential mode can be turned on by the system admin only if you want your work emails to be secure. Else, you can turn this on for personal email ID as well. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to User settings, scroll to Confidential mode.
  • Uncheck or check the Enable confidential mode box.
  • Save your changes.

Note that the changes don’t happen instantly and it can take up to 24 hours.
You can also block incoming confidential mode messages. To do so, you will have to visit advanced settings inside the User settings menu.

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