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Moving from Gmail to HEY

Switching from Gmail to HEY may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you’d expect. And you don’t even need to ask your contacts to update your email address. We’ll show you how.

Here’s how to make the move:

  1. Takes about 3 minutes

    First, turn on Gmail forwarding

    Gmail lets you automatically forward any email to your @gmail.com address to another email address. So when someone emails you at youraddress@gmail.com, it’ll be sent right on to youraddress@hey.com. This way you’ll 1. never need to tell people to change your email address, and 2. never miss an email someone sends to your old Gmail address. Over time people can transition into emailing you at your new @hey.com address, but there’s no rush.

    Here’s how:

    First, head over to Forwarding Setup (“Me” menu -> Forwarding Setup) in HEY and enter your Gmail address.

    adding your Gmail address in HEY

    Next, Go to “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” in your Gmail account settings, and add your HEY email address.

    adding a forward address in Gmail

    Gmail will send a verification email to your HEY address. Click the link in the verification email to confirm you own the HEY address.

    verifying that your own the receiving address in HEY

    Last, head back over to Gmail’s forwarding settings, switch to the “Forward a copy of incoming mail to” option, then click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.

    enabling your forward address in Gmail

    Done! Now any emails sent to your old Gmail address will come right into HEY as well.

  2. Takes about 5 minutes

    Next, export your Gmail contacts

    You’ve probably collected a bunch of contacts over the years. It would be a loss if you couldn’t bring them with you. Good news, you can! HEY allows you to import all your contacts from Gmail. It just takes a few minutes.

    Here’s how:

    First, go to Google Contacts, select all the contacts you want to export, and choose “export” from the “three dots” menu in the toolbar.

    selecting your contacts to export in Google Contacts

    Next, pick the “vCard (for iOS Contacts)” option, then click “Export” to download a file of your contacts.

    picking the export file type in Google Contacts

    Last, head over to the contacts importer in HEY, choose the file you exported from Google, then click the “Upload and import” button.

    importing your contacts in HEY

    Done! Now all your contacts are imported into HEY and Screened In. Note, depending on the number of contacts you’re importing, this step could take longer, but HEY will let you know when it’s all done.

  3. Starting the export takes 2 minutes

    Optionally, save all your Gmail email to a single file

    There’s likely some old emails you want to keep forever. Maybe something you know you'll need to reference later, but you just aren’t sure when. Or some information you received last year that you’ll need this year. We get it. Luckily, Gmail allows you to export all your email into a single MBOX file. You can then keep that file on your computer so you can search it later whenever you need to quick dip into the past.

    Here’s how:

    First, visit Google Takeout, and click the “Deselect all” button at the top.

    deselcting all options in Google Takeout

    Then, scroll down to “Mail” and check the box next to it. If you only want some of your email, click the “All Mail data included” button and select the labels you want to export. When you’re ready, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Next step” button.

    selecting 'Mail' in Google Takeout

    Last, choose your export options. For most people, the defaults are the right choice. When you’re ready, click the “Create export” button. Google will send you an email with a link to download your data within a few days.

    choosing delivery options in Google Takeout

    Note: Depending on the number of emails you have in Gmail, this export could take hours, or even days. But kicking off the export only take a few minutes. Then Google will do its thing and let you know when it’s done.

Getting oriented

HEY’s the better way to email, but it’s quite different than Gmail. Here are some tips that’ll help you transition from Gmail to HEY.

In Gmail you… In HEY you…

archive and delete email

With Gmail, you need to do something with every single email in order to keep your Inbox usable.

let email flow

HEY eliminates the obligation to archive or delete, and saves you the hassle of constantly cleaning up.

create workarounds to reply later

Gmail doesn’t have built in workflows. That means you have to do hacky things like mark emails as unread that you need to reply to.

mark email as “Reply Later”

When you get an email in HEY that you don’t have time to reply to now, mark it “Reply Later”. It’ll go into a tidy pile at the bottom of the screen.

star emails you need to save

If you need to save an email for future reference in Gmail, you star it or create a label you’ll remember.

“Set Aside” emails you need to save

Similar to Reply Later, HEY has a separate spot for all those emails you need to save for various reasons.

have an automated “promotions” tab

Gmail uses a mysterious algorithm to automatically places emails it thinks are promotions in a separate tab.

have “The Feed” & “Paper Trail”

With HEY, you decide if emails belong in The Feed (great for newsletters), the Paper Trail (perfect for receipts), or your Imbox.

get notified about everything

Gmail, like most email clients, doesn’t know the difference between an important email and an unimportant one. You get notified no matter what.

get notified about things you choose

With HEY, you don’t get any notifications by default. Instead, you turn on notifications for contacts or threads that you think are important.


Where do my replies come from?

When you forward email in from Gmail, you’ll never miss something someone sends from your old address. But, when you reply, your replies will come from your new @hey.com address. This way your contacts can learn your new email address and begin using that one moving forward.

Can I import old email into HEY?

You can’t import all your old Gmail email into HEY, but if you export your Gmail into an MBOX file and keep that file on your computer, you can search it whenever you need to find an old email. Also, you can keep your Gmail account open and search there to find something from years ago.

Will email I forward into HEY stay in Gmail too?

Yes, when you set up forwarding in Gmail, Gmail will keep a copy of every email it forwards into HEY. Any replies you send from HEY won’t be saved into Gmail, but emails sent to your @gmail.com address will be saved in Gmail.

But I’m used to archiving mail!

We know — old habits die hard. But having to make a decision to archive, delete, or ignore every email you get is actually a hassle — and completely unnecessary. Once you learn to follow The HEY Way and just let it flow, you’ll never want to go back to the old way.


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