So, you want to ditch your Gmail address in favour of Apple iCloud. Good decision (although we’ll look at a few reasons why you might not need to take such drastic action below).

If you have decided you don’t want to continue to use your Gmail account it’s easy to copy all your existing Google emails over to your iCloud Mail folders. And once you have done that you can direct Gmail to divert any future emails to your Apple email address. We’ll explain how below.

How to copy your Gmail emails to iCloud

1) Start by setting up Mail on your Mac, iPhone or iPad to accept your Gmail emails. This article explains how to set up your Apple Mail app to accept Gmails: How to set up Mail.

2) If you have folders in Gmail that you wish to replicate in iCloud you will need to set these up before copying your emails over. Here’s how to create a new folder in the iCloud mail section of your Mail app:

  • On a Mac right-click on iCloud (under Inbox) and select New Mailbox. Choose a Name for your mailbox, for example, Gmail Archive. The folder will appear in the iCloud further down on the left.
  • On an iOS device, go to Mailboxes > Edit and then choose New Mailbox. Name the Mailbox, and choose iCloud as the location.

3) Now you are ready to copy over the Gmail emails you wish to keep into the new folder in iCloud. It’s best to copy rather than drag and drop just in case something goes wrong during the process. To copy the emails in Mail on a Mac select the emails in the Gmail folder, right click and choose Copy To and then choose the folder you just set up. To copy the emails on an iOS device, tap in Edit then select the mails you wish to copy (or Mark All) then choose Move and choose the folder you set up. (You could copy the emails into your Inbox if you don't require a separate folder).

4) Once your emails have copied over (beware it can take a while if you have a large email account) you should be safe to remove Gmail from your Mail app.

  • On a Mac go to Mail > Accounts select the Gmail address and click on the minus button and confirm that you want to Turn Off Account.
  • On an iOS device, go to Settings > Mail > Accounts, tap on the Gmail account and then chose Delete Account.

At this point you will have the emails from your Gmail account in your iCloud account and you could leave it at that, never opening your Gmail again. Except that it’s likely that there might be some emails sent to that account that you wouldn’t want to miss.

You either need to change the email address that those emails are being sent to (which will be a case of going through your subscriptions and contacting friends and colleagues) or, by far the easier option, setting up email forwarding in Gmail.

How to set up email forwarding from Gmail to iCloud

Of course it might be the case that you don’t wish to continue to receive the Gmail emails, perhaps you discarded that account long ago and now it’s just full of spam in which case you can just close your Gmail account, which is a simple case of signing in to your account, scrolling down to the Account preferences section, and choosing Delete your account or services.

However, if you want to forward the emails sent here this is what you need to do:

1) Go to gmail.com click on the cog then Settings and choose the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

2) Enter your iCloud address when asked for a forwarding address.

3) You will receive an email to verify permission.  You will need to add a verification code before the email forwarding will start. If you later decide that you don’t want to continue to forward these emails you can click on Remove the Address.

4) Now all emails sent to your gmail account will be diverted to your iCloud address.

Why you don’t need to stop using Gmail

If your only reason for combining your Gmail and iCloud accounts was because you wanted to access all your emails from one place, it may not be necessary to go to such lengths as transferring your emails from one to the other.

The easiest way to combine your two email addresses is to use Apple’s Mail app. You can access this on a Mac or on an iPhone or iPad. You can set up Mail so that both your iCloud email and your Gmail appears in the app.

Both email accounts can even share the same inbox and you can set rules up to filter emails sent to either address. If this sounds like it would actually solve your issue, read: How to set up email on a Mac, iPhone or iPad.

You may have another reason to turn your back on Gmail. A colleague once insisted on using an iCloud email address rather than a Gmail address because he was confident that Apple wasn’t snooping on his emails and targeting ads depending on the content in them, while Google is known to scan your emails for advertising purposes (although if you are paying to use the Google Apps for Work version it shouldn’t be doing that).

Apple on the other hand prioritises your privacy, boasting on its website that “all traffic between any email app you use and our iCloud mail servers is encrypted. And our iCloud servers support encryption in transit with other email providers that support it.”

Another reason for moving from Gmail might be the simple fact that as the owner of multiple Apple gadgets you are happy using iCloud email, however, as we have shown you above, it is really easy to add your Gmail account to your Mail app, and receiving Gmail there is no different to receiving iCloud emails there. Plus if you have both an iCloud and a Gmail address you will get more GB of free storage for your emails, so we recommend you take advantage of that.

We also have advice about How to stop spam in Mac Mail, and some of the best alternatives to Mail for Mac users.