Last week, Google rolled out a disappearing email option for Gmail called confidential mode. The feature lets users set an expiration date on emails before they’re sent, so that the contents are eventually inaccessible after a certain period of time.
Confidential mode is available to users with personal accounts who opted in to the new version of Gmail last month, when Google announced the latest changes to its email application. Some of the new Gmail features were available right from the start, but others — like confidential mode — are rolling out more slowly.
It won’t be available to corporate accounts until a later, unspecified date, but if you have your own Gmail account, you can turn it on and use it right away.
Here’s how to find, turn on, and use Gmail’s new confidential mode:
In order to access confidential mode, users of the free Gmail service (AKA non-corporate accounts) need to opt-in to the new Gmail by going to the settings cog in the top-right corner and selecting “Try the new Gmail.”
You can always go back to the “Classic” version if you really hate it. For G Suite customers (corporate accounts), the new Gmail is available via an Early Adopter Program (EAP), which needs be enabled by the G-Suite administrator via the Admin console.
Once you’ve selected the new Gmail design and it updates, hit Compose to start a new email, and you’ll see this padlock icon at the bottom of your Compose window.
When you click on it, a pop-up window will appear with two options: set the expiration date and decide whether you want it to be passcode protected.
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