How to use Google Takeout to back up Google data

Google Takeout may not be the first Google service that comes to mind. You can use Google Takeout to back up your Google data as a backup or before closing your account.

Google Takeout may not be the first Google service that comes to mind. You can use Google Takeout to back up your Google data as a backup or before closing your account. It's completely free and includes almost every Google service you'll use.

What is Google Takeout?

Google Takeout is a free service Google offers to help you download copies of your data across more than 50 Google services. This ranges from Gmail and Drive to YouTube and Blogger. Google Data Liberation Front, a group at Google, came up with this idea. They believe that every user has the right to access their data and switch to non-Google services if they want.

Create a backup whenever you want or schedule it every few months, just in case something goes wrong, like getting locked out of your account or you decide to delete your account. With Google deleting inactive accounts, you may also want to use Google Takeout to back up old files before your account is deleted.

Download backups with Google Takeout

Start by signing in to the Google account you want to back up, then visit Google Takeout. The number of data types/services available will vary, based on your overall activity on Google. For example, there are only 47 types available.

By default, most of the boxes are checked. Select everything or just the services you want to back up. You might just want all your Google Photos or Drive files. Scroll through and check the boxes for what you want to download. Remember, the more you select, the longer it takes to prepare the file for download.

 

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For most data types, you'll see the available format(s) below. Click here to change the file format, if desired. For example, in Google Drive , click Multiple formats . Choose whether you want the file in PDF or Microsoft Office format. Of course, you can always convert individual Google Docs documents to Microsoft Word.

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Choose how you want to receive your download. Choose between a link in your email, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box. Select output frequency. You can choose to export once or set up automatic backups every two months. Wherever you choose to store your backups, make sure there's plenty of space.

Google compresses downloads in ZIP or TGZ format for faster downloads. Finally, choose your maximum file size. Google will split the downloaded file into multiple files if necessary. Sizes range from 2 to 50GB. Think about individual file sizes. For example, if you have a video over 2GB in size, choose a larger file size to ensure the video is not split.

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Click Create export when you are ready.

It can take hours or even days for Google to prepare your download. You will receive an email when it is ready. Download, extract the file and enjoy organizing Google's mountains of data.

Each directory is a separate service. Open the service's folder, such as Chrome or Drive, to view those files.

Please note that you only have 7 days to download your file once it is ready. Google will then delete it to prevent unauthorized access.

Recover your Google account data

While you can use Google Takeout to back up your Google data, restoring your Google account data from there isn't quite as simple. Instead of just uploading the exported file and everything will be back to normal, you will need to open each service individually and upload the file.

Things are more complicated with Gmail. One of the simplest methods is to use the free Got Your Back tool. This is a command line tool that allows you to backup and restore Gmail files, including your labels. Please pay attention to the included instructions for easier use.

From experience, you can recover many deleted emails from a previous Takeout backup using this tool. It only restores emails that don't exist yet, so there's no duplicate data.

For other Google services or alternatives, you just need to upload your desired files. Some non-Google services offer transfer tools, but this varies widely depending on the service.

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