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'What is Google Takeout?': How to use Google's simple tool for downloading all of your account data at once

Ross James , Business Insider US
 Jan 24, 2020, 01:33 PM
Google recently added a handful of new features to Gmail.

  • Google Takeout is a service offered by Google that backs up all of your Google account's data into one file, which you can then download.
  • When you use Google Takeout, you'll download all your emails, YouTube videos and comments, Google Drive files, and more.
  • You can also instead select specific parts of your data that you want to save.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage

Google Takeout, despite the name, isn't a food delivery service.

Google Takeout is, instead, a service that takes all your existing Google data and packs it together into one file.

It's essentially a collection of everything you've ever done with your Google account - this includes all the pages you've saved, the YouTube videos you've watched, the Drive files you've uploaded, and more.

Saving your data using Google Takeout won't harm your accounts in any way. You'll simply receive .zip or .tgz files filled with all your data. This is great for making backups.

Here's how to use Google Takeout on your desktop computer.

How to use Google Takeout to download your Google data

1. Go to the Google Takeout settings page and check all the services that you want to save data from. It's a very long list.

Google has an extensive list of services that you can check or uncheck individually.
Ross James/Business Insider

2. Choose your preferred method of downloading the archive. This can be a download link sent to an email address, or a file added to your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box account.

If you ask to have your data sent to a non-Google service, you'll be sent an email with a link to your data on that service.
Ross James/Business Insider

3. Select whether you prefer this to be a one-time archive, or a recurring process. Setting this to be a recurring process means you'll receive updated backups every two months over the course of a year.

4. You'll be asked if you prefer the archive to be compressed into .zip or .tgz filetype - in nearly all cases, you'll want to take the .zip file - and how large you want your backup files to be. If there's too much data to fit into the size you've set, Google will make multiple backup files to fit everything.

You might need additional software to open a .tgz file.
Ross James/Business Insider

5. Google will begin archiving your data, and send it to you in the way you selected. This process can take a while, depending on how much data you're backing up.

The completion message will tell you that the archive process can take hours, or even days, to complete.
Ross James/Business Insider

And that's it!

If you know which specific Google service you want to backup your data from, the best way to use Takeout is to select just that service and back up only its data.

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