Migrate to Fastmail from Gmail

What you won’t read in the official migration guide

Transfer your mail

You can import all your mail from Gmail to Fastmail, in theory. In practice, if you have 16+ GB of emails, it might be next to impossible. I tried several times and failed. But that’s not a good reason to give up on Fastmail.

I really wanted to migrate from Gmail to Fastmail, so I set up both accounts on Apple Mail and manually copied the emails and folders I needed at the time from Gmail to Fastmail (it was less than 32 MB of data). Then, I downloaded my emails from Gmail using Google Takeout, and I backed up the data from Google in three places: the hard drive on my computer, an external hard drive, and Backblaze B2.

There are several apps for macOS that let you read your backed–up emails without importing them. I tested most of these apps, and I ended up using Fast Mbox Editor. Its user interface could use some love, but it beats the competition’s usability.

Set up your apps

When I was using Gmail, I was using Google apps. After migrating to Fastmail, I had to choose desktop and mobile email clients. There are several options to choose from. It takes some time. I didn’t expect it would take me so long.

In the end, I chose to stick with Apple’s default apps.

Transfer your docs… or not

If you’re using Google Docs and want to move out from Google, you’ll have to find an alternative.

I tested Draft, Dropbox Paper, and a few others. I ended up creating a new Google Account only for Google Docs and using it in Firefox, in private mode.

Set up your backup email

Back in the days of Gmail, I used Fastmail for a backup email account outside of my domain. When I migrated to Fastmail, I had to find a new provider for a backup email account. I chose Tutanota Private Premium.


I hope reading this supplement to the official guide will save you time and surprises.

I’m happy with Fastmail. So much so that I paid for my account three years in advance.

April 2021