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Tech tips

The easiest way to switch to a new email account (without losing old messages)

Presented by StartMail

Presented by StartMail

Don’t trust Big Tech with your data and privacy. Go to today for a seven-day free trial and 50% off your first year.

It’s easy to come up with excuses for keeping an old email account. Your contacts are in there, people know that address or you even have an emotional connection to it. Maybe you’re using an AOL account you created when chatrooms were still a thing.

Most people stick with their old email address out of convenience. Who wants to go through all the trouble of creating a new account? The truth is, it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. More importantly, if you choose correctly, you’ll end up with a more private, secure inbox.

Here are some tips on making the switch, brought to you by our sponsor StartMail.

Popular does not mean safe

Countless people have Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and AOL accounts. They’re easy to use and they don’t cost a dime.

But how do they stack up when it comes to privacy? These companies are open about how they use your data, from scanning your personal emails for advertising purposes to collecting your info to create a personal profile.

If privacy is on your mind, you need to take a good hard look at your inbox. Our pick is StartMail. It’s private, secure and ad-free. They don’t share your data, you can send encrypted emails with just a click, and your messages are only accessible by you.

Moving on

Whether you’re moving to StartMail or any other new account, you need to take a few steps for a smooth transition.

Once you’ve made a choice, your first step is to set up a new account. StartMail makes it easy. Tap or click for a 7-day free trial and get 50% off your first year at

Be sure to use a unique, complex password. Your best bet is to use a password manager. Adding on two-factor authentication (2FA) is always a good idea, too.

Update your profiles and accounts

Once you’ve got your new email account up and running, it’s time to update your contact information for the sites you use most. You may want to start with your bank and any business that emails you bills. Check your social media, online shopping accounts and memberships. It’s generally as easy as going to your profile and putting in your new email address.

One way to find your accounts is to check saved logins in your browser.

  • On Chrome, go to Settings > Passwords and look under Saved Passwords.
  • If you use Firefox, click the menu button (three lines) and then Logins and Passwords.
  • On Safari, open the menu and go to Preferences > Passwords.
  • On Edge, click the three dots to get to Settings > View advanced settings > Manage passwords.

Tell your friends

What good is a new email account if nobody knows about it? It’s a good thing when spammers can’t find you, but what about friends? Let your contacts know that you’ve made the switch.

You can use your address book or contact list to make this step easier. Make sure to use the BCC field (blind carbon copy) to protect your recipients’ privacy.

  • On Gmail, open Google apps by clicking the nine dots in the upper right corner and go to Contacts. (Or go to Check off the contacts you want to message, then click Create label. Give the group a simple name that indicates its purpose. Now open a new email message and click the Bcc button. Type in the name of the group you just created, compose your message and send.
  • In Yahoo Mail, go to Contacts > Lists > Create list and enter a name for the contact group. Add email addresses to the Add contacts field and click Save. Open a new email and choose BCC, then add the name of the contact group.
  • In Outlook, go to Home > New Items > More Items > Contact Group. Enter the contacts in the Name field. Start a new email message, select Bcc and type the name of the group in the field.
  • In AOL, click Contacts in the left panel, then New list and enter a label. Then click the Contacts icon to add names to the list. Click Add list when you’re done. Now open a new email and select Bcc to get the empty field, where you will enter the name of the contact list.

Moving your messages to your new account

One of the biggest concerns with moving to a new email account is losing all your old emails. Luckily, you don’t have to waste hours meticulously forwarding emails to your new account. You can get it done in a few steps.

Step 1: Use IMAP and an email client

This essential first step sets you up for success. We’ll show you how to do it using StartMail as an example.

  • Access your StartMail account through an email client. To do this, click Settings.
  • Then, click on Trusted devices/IMAP.
  • You’ll see a bar that says To access StartMail from other clients using IMAP. Toggle the bar to enable access.
  • Then, click on Add device.
  • You’ll see a section titled Choose device name. Enter the name and confirm with your account password. Then, click Confirm.

Now, you’ll see the device information you need to set up the connection. Tap on close, and you’ve configured your device. Now that you’ve established a solid foundation, it’s time to make the big moves.

Step 2: Set up your old email address in the client

Basically, you need to have both your new email address and your old one in the same client. It’s the best way to transfer messages from your old account into a brand new one.

Here’s how to add a Gmail account to the client

  • On a computer, sign in to your Gmail account.
  • Click the gear icon on the top right of the screen, then click Settings.
  • Next, click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  • Now, tap on Add a forwarding address button and enter the email you’d like to forward to.
  • Enter the email address and click Next, then follow the onscreen prompts and you’re done.

What if you use Yahoo?

Set up your email account in the client with these steps.

  • On a computer, navigate to Yahoo Mail and sign in to the account you’d like to forward from.
  • Go to Settings.
  • Click Mailboxes on the left side of the screen.
  • In your Mailbox List, click on the email account you’re currently accessing.
  • Under the Forwarding section, enter the email address you’d like to forward to.
  • Click Verify.
  • Follow the onscreen prompts.

If you use Microsoft Outlook, here’s what to do.

Depending on which version of Outlook you use, the options you have to back up data and import and export can vary. The simplest method of moving email from Outlook to another provider is by way of forwarding.

  • On a computer, navigate to Outlook and sign in to the account you’d like to forward from.
  • Click the gear on the top right of the screen, then click View all Outlook settings.
  • In the Mail tab, click Forwarding.
  • Select the Enable Forwarding checkbox.
  • Enter the email address you’d like to forward mail to and decide if you want to keep copies of the forwarded messages in your Outlook account.
  • Click Save.

Since both email addresses are now set up in your mail client, you’re all set up for success. Here’s the final step.

Step 3: Start exporting messages

Before you start, you need to pick a final destination for your messages. Create a folder in your StartMail inbox for all of your old messages. Now, you’re ready to transfer over old emails.

  • Select all the messages you want to export.
  • Then, right-click and select Move to.
  • Finally, select the StartMail folder you want them to go into.

Just like that, all of your old messages have found a new home. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

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