How To Send Self-Destructing Emails In Gmail

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Initially, Snapchat brought the concept of self-destructing messages. It was then followed by Instagram and now it is Gmail who has implemented something similar in their email service. Recently, Gmail revamped their web version UI and introduced quite a lot of new features like Smart Reply which was already there in the app. Another one is the confidential mode which lets you send self-destructing emails in Gmail. In this tutorial, we have mentioned the steps that can be used to send self-destructing emails.

What Is Self-Destructing Email?

Like self-destructing messages, self-destructing emails gets automatically deleted once their expiry time(condition) is met. All the content and attachments in the email are removed from both the parties – sender and recipient.

To get started, you will have to switch to new Gmail. You can do that easily by clicking on the gear icon (Settings) at the top right corner and select Try the new Gmail.

Switch To new Gmail

After you are taken to the new Gmail you are all set to follow the method below.

Send Self-Destructing Emails In Gmail

1. Click on Compose, write your email and add attachments as usual.

2. After that, click on the lock with timer icon (Confidential mode) at the extreme right of the bottom row.

Confidential Mode Gmail

3. Now, set the expiry time in the window that pops out and click Save. You can choose from a day, week, month, 3 months & 5 years.

Self-Destructing Emails gmail

There’s an additional & optional option of turning on the SMS passcode. If you choose to enable it then you will have to enter the phone number of the recipient where they will receive the passcode in order to open the Email.

SMS passcode enabled confidential email

4. Next, click on Save and hit Send to send the email.

Send Self-destructing Emails in Gmail


With this, your email will be sent and will be deleted automatically after the expiry time.

Things To Know

  • The recipient will be notified of the expiry date.
  • It is not possible for the recipients to forward, download the attachments, print or copy the contents of the confidential email.
  • If the self-destructing email is sent to the person who is still on old/classic Gmail then they will receive the email as a link (View the email) as shown below. The same is the case if the email is sent to the non-Gmail account. On clicking the link you will be able to view the Email.

View the Self-Destructing Email


  • In case the passcode option is enabled, the recipient will have to enter the passcode they get on their phone number in order to open the email.

Get passcode Confidential Email Gmail

Type passcode Confidential Email

If you have been waiting for self-destructing emails then Gmail new web version won’t disappoint you. Having said that, it is still not sure how encrypted and secure they might be. However, in case you have been using workarounds to achieve this then it is time to put a rest to them and use the option offered natively.

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Hemant Mendiratta
Hemant Mendiratta is a passionate blogger and keeps a keen eye on useful apps and gadgets. Absolutely loves running and is currently training for his first Marathon. You can connect with him on:


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