Using the Gmail Confidential Mode

You may not have realised it yet, but Gmail now has a Confidential mail mode. This allows you to send an email which cannot be forwarded, can’t be copied and pasted and will expire (or become unreadable) after a set time. You can even lock the email with a SMS passcode to help ensure it is only seen by the intended recipient. The feature is available in the browser version of Gmail, as well as in the Gmail app for iOS and Android. Here’s how to set up and send Confidential Gmails.

Confidential Mode – On Computer

Open Gmail and click “Compose” to start a new email. At the bottom of the compose window you will see all of the email controls. The last one (a padlock with a clock) is the button for Confidential mode.

Click on this and a new window will open, allowing you to set an expiry date/time and choose whether to set a SMS passcode. Expiry options are: 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and 5 years.

If you choose the “No SMS passcode” option, recipients using the Gmail app will be able to open it directly. Recipients who don’t use Gmail will still be sent an email with a passcode.


Choose “SMS Passcode” and the recipient will have a passcode sent to them by text message. For this to work, you will obviously need to enter their mobile phone number. Click Save.

You can then complete the email message and subject and click Send. This is when you can enter the mobile phone number for the passcode.

Confidential Mode – On iOS and Android

Confidential mode on iOS and Android works in almost exactly the same way as it does in the browser version of Gmail. Open Gmail and tap the Compose button to start a new email. Then tap the More button > Confidential mode.

You can now set the expiry time and choose to add a passcode lock. Tap save and you will be taken back to the email compose screen to complete your message.

If you chose to add a passcode lock, when you click the Send button you will be asked to enter the mobile phone number of the recipient.

gmail confidential android

Remove Access Early – PC and Mobile

If you want/need to, you can revoke access to the email earlier than the expiry date you set when you sent it.

Open Gmail and click on the sent folder. Find the confidential email you sent and open it. You will see a message along the bottom of the email telling you that it is confidential. Here you will also see “Remove Access”. Click this and the email will become unreadable to anyone it was sent to.

Find more guides like this in…

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button