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Gmail Confidential Mode: Send And Receive Secret Messages

Gmail Confidential Mode: Send And Receive Secret Messages


There’s yet another cool feature on Gmail that a lot of people don’t know about. It is the Gmail confidential mode, it lets you send messages & attachments confidentially.

It is important to point out that many people don’t know that “confidential mode” doesn’t support secure replies from recipients unless they also have Gmail. Confidentiality is very important for almost every business in the world, especially in the healthcare industry. Therefore, it is essential to make your Gmail HIPAA compliant (but as you can read in Hushmail’s article, just because it is possible, it doesn’t mean it’s ideal).

What is confidential mode?

Confidential mode on Gmail is basically a mode that gives your emails more privacy. It lets you set expiry dates and also gives you the ability to revoke access to emails at any given time.

So, let’s say you want to send a secret message to a client, friend or family member, a message that you won’t want them to download, share, print or forward. That’s where this mode comes in handy.

With the confidential mode, the recipient will not be able to download, share, print, or forward the message.

Check out: Google Account Security Tips

Gmail Confidential Mode: How It Works

You can choose to send a confidential message with a passcode or one without a passcode.

Sending one with a passcode will prompt the recipient to enter the passcode before he or she can gain access to the email you sent.

A bit confusing? I’ll break it down further.

So, let’s create two characters here. Mr. A and Mr. B!

Now, before Mr. A, sends a passcoded message to Mr. B, Mr. A would be initially asked to input Mr. B’s phone number before sending the message.

This step is to make sure only Mr. B gets to read the message.

A phone number is required so recipients can verify their identity using an SMS passcode


After the number has been added, Mr. A can then send the message to Mr. B.

Here’s the catch;

Before Mr. B can read the message he has too request for a unique code. After requesting, the code will be sent to his phone number. If he enters the correct he will be able to view the confidential message.

Having Access

Gmail confidential mode has a self destruct function that you can initially set before sending the message.

You can set it to expire in 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, or 5 years. As the sender, you also have the ability to remove access to the secure email whenever you please.

Steps: How To Turn On Confidential Mode In Gmail

Follow these steps to enable Gmail Confidential mode;

Using a Computer

Follow these steps to get the hang of Gmail confidential mode.

1. Open Gmail with a browser on your computer.

2. Click on the compose button at the top right.

Gmail Confidential Mode

3. Add a recipient, subject and body of the email.

4. Click on the confidential mode icon below to activate Gmail confidential mode.

Gmail Confidential Mode

5. Set expiration time.

gmail confidential mode

6. Choose if you want to lock the email or not. (If you chose SMS passcode, you will need to enter your recipient’s phone number in the box).

gmail confidential mode

7. Click on save and then send the email.

gmail confidential mode

Using Gmail Android App

1. Open the Gmail App on your Android device.

2. Tap compose at the lower right.

3. Add a recipient, subject and body.

4. Tap on the three dotted icon at the top-most right.

5. Tap on Confidential mode.

6. Choose the expiration time and select if it will require a passcode or not.

7. Tap on save.

8. Send email.

Gmail Confidential Mode To Non Gmail Account

Many people have asked, It is possible to send a confidential email to a non Gmail account? The answer is Yes.

Here are the steps to follow;

  1. Open the self destruct email sent to you.
  2. Click on view the email.
  3. A new page will open, click on send passcode.
  4. Insert the passcode in the field and submit to view the confidential email.

Unsupported Country?

You can use the Gmail confidential mode to send emails to anyone. However, the passcode function is available to limited users.

Currently, only some countries can use the SMS passcode feature. We hope that this changes with time, but for now, the only supported regions are;

  • North America
  • South America
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Asia (India, Japan, Korea).

How To Remove Access Early

Like I earlier said, after sending a message you can decide to self destruct the email with just the click of a button. Here’s how to remove access immediately.

  • Open Gmail.
  • Go to the sent folder, locate and open the confidential message.
  • Click on remove access and the message will be inaccessible by the recipient.


How do I turn on confidential mode in Gmail?

Activating this mode is almost the same on all devices. (iOS, Android, PC) Here is what you need to do.

  • Open the Gmail App.
  • Compose an email.
  • Add a subject, recipient, and other text.
  • Click on the confidential icon at the bottom or at the top right for Android and iPhone users.
  • Set the expiration date and passcode if you want to, then save.
  • Send email.

Is Gmail confidential mode safe?

No, Google can still read your messages. The messages you send using confidential mode are not end-to-end encrypted.


There you have it. I hope this article has helped you understand Gmail confidential mode better. Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, drop a comment down below and I’ll be happy to answer.

Beejay adoghe I'm Beejay Adoghe, I have always been a lover of tech and gadgets and subsequently, this led to creating a top-notch platform where I could share free basic information about Tech that'll help lots of people fix problems and learn new Techy trends. P.S I love Singing and Playing the piano.


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