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How to Use Gmail Confidential Mode Feature to Send Self-Destructive Emails?

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Looking for a way to send self-destructive emails using Gmail? Then you need to know how to use the Confidential mode feature on Gmail.


After hitting the Send button in Gmail, emails are out of your control for the most part. Gmail’s latest feature, Confidential mode offers control over the way you send emails. Using this feature, you can set your message expiration dates which will result in making it trickier for the recipient to forward the message.

Gmail’s confidential mode is a part of the new user interface. The feature works because all the messages are being hosted on Google’s servers, instead of the conventional email protocols. It does have its drawbacks, for example, people who are using something other than Gmail will have to click on the link to launch messages in the browser.

Still, it’s a fair effort by the company for making email secure especially when the recipients are already using Gmail. The Confidential mode feature is handy for the users concerned about their privacy.

At first, Google released this feature for Gmail for desktop, but now it’s available in the Gmail app for both Android and iOS devices.

How to use Confidential Mode with Gmail?

If you are ready to take advantage of this new feature to send self-destruct emails, then here’s what you have to do:

For Gmail for Desktop

Open the internet browser, visit gmail.com and login to your account

But note that before following the steps discussed below, make sure you are using the new Gmail. Else you will not find the Confidential mode feature.


Click the Compose button which is available at the upper left corner. This will launch the new message compose window.

At the bottom of the message composer toolbar, you will find a “Turn Confidential Mode ON/OFF” button.

Clicking on the button will open the Confidential Mode dialog box. Here you will find the options to set email expiration accompanied by an option to enable SMS verification.

Now click on the Set Expiration drop-down to select the email expiration date. You can now go ahead and set an expiry date for the email from one week to five weeks.

After setting the email expiry, you will start seeing a Confidential badge in the Gmail composer showing you information about when the email is going to expire and also with an Edit option. You can click on it if you want to make changes to the mail.

Now compose the email as you usually do and click on the Send button. If you have not enabled the Passcode option, then the email will be sent to its recipient. However, if you have enabled the Passcode option; then a Missing information dialog box will open asking you to enter the phone number. You will be required to enter the phone number of the recipient. This is necessary so that the recipient can authenticate their identity via SMS Passcode.

After sending the email, you may choose to expire the message anytime if you don’t want to wait for the due date of the message expiry. For that, you need to head over to sent email and click on the Remove access button.

Once the email is finally sent, this is how the email will be delivered to the recipient.


These are the things which recipient’s need to know about the Confidential emails:

The receiver will only receive a confidential email if they are using the new Gmail.

In the received email, the Forward button is disabled.

There will be a banner in the mail explaining about the confidential email. Detail like when the email is going to expire.

When emails expire, the recipient will see the following message:

However, if the sender and recipient are both using Gmail, then it is a normal process, but it becomes very tricky when the recipient is not a Gmail user.

Let’s take the example of Outlook.com, see how it looks:

To view the email, you will need to click on the email which will launch the email in the browser. To view the email, a passcode must be entered which will be sent on mobile phone or email.

Gmail for Android and iOS

Confidential mode feature with Gmail for mobile is the same for Android and iOS. Here’s what you need to do:


Launch the Gmail app on either mobile device.

Tap the Compose icon which is available at the bottom right corner.

Tap on the Menu icon available at the upper right corner and select Confidential Mode.

Now you need to Set Expiry of the email (you can also enable passcode if you want) and then tap on the Save option.

Finally, compose and send the email, as usual.

For Android

For iOS

That is how to use the Confidential mode feature with Gmail. So why don’t you give it a try? Let us know your thoughts on this feature in the comments section below.

Image Source: KnowTechie


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