Protect Gmail Messages with Confidential Mode

Gmail Confidential Mode
November 26, 2019

Coming soon, Gmail Confidential Mode! Create expiration dates, revoke messages, and add passcodes to protect your emails from being shared with the wrong recipient!

This summer, Google announced that Gmail Confidential Mode was coming to G Suite. With confidential mode, it’s possible to protect content in your emails by creating expiration dates or revoking previously sent messages. This built-in Information Rights Management (IRM) also removes the option to forward, copy, download or print messages, helping to reduce the risk of information being accidentally shared with the wrong recipient. 

And because you can require additional authentication via SMS text message to view an email, confidential mode protects access even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active. Confidential mode can also be used when sending to non recipients, including,, etc.

Confidential Mode - Animation

IMPORTANT: Confidential mode helps prevent recipients from accidentally sharing your email. However, it does not  prevent recipients from taking screenshots or photos of your messages or attachments. Recipients who have malicious programs on their computer might still be able to copy or download your messages or attachments.

How to get started?

Once the option to send messages and attachments confidentially is available for your account:

  1. Open Gmail and click Compose.
  2. At the bottom of the window, select the  confidential mode icon to enable the feature.

    Confidential Mode - Email Body

    Tip: If you already turned on confidential mode for an email you’re drafting, open the email and click Edit.
  3. Under Set Expiration, click the Down Arrow and select a date.
  4. Under Require Passcode, choose an option:

    No SMS Passcode - If a recipient uses Gmail, they can open the message directly. Recipients who don't use Gmail get a passcode by email. 
    SMS Passcode - Enter the recipient's phone number. A passcode will be sent to them via text message. 

    Confidential Mode - Popup
  5. Click Save.
  6. Click Send.

Opening confidential mode emails with another email provider

The non recipient may need to click the View the email link in the message in order to request a passcode. The passcode will be sent via text message or by email, and must be entered to view the full contents of the email. Note: if the email address from another provider is linked to an existing Google Account, the recipient must login with that Google account password to view the email's content. 

Replying to confidential mode emails with a UAlberta G Suite account

Confidential mode will automatically be on, with the default settings, when replying to a confidential mode email. To change any of the settings before the reply is sent:

  • Click Edit in the reply window, and the confidential mode settings will open where you can change the expiration, or require a passcode
  • Click the confidential mode icon to turn off the feature for the reply

confidential mode

For more information on how to best share information securely, visit the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer’s website which highlights best practices.

Keep an eye on IST’s G Suite news to to learn the latest tips, tricks, and updates for UAlberta G Suite. Additional information about Gmail and confidential mode can be found at the Gmail Learning Center and the Gmail Help Center.