The Great Escape (from Yahoo!)

If you don’t care about reading my thoughts and just want to move your stuff from Yahoo! to Gmailclick here.

Author’s note: this post was originally intended for family/friends, so my security/privacy preferences have been (somewhat) tamed for the audience.

What?!?!

This is a step-by-step guide to switch from Yahoo to Gmail. If you’re looking for how to transfer your email or contacts from Yahoo to Gmail, you’ve come to the right place!

First, some background on why I think this is so necessary. Hopefully you have heard by now about Yahoo!’s massive data breach – an estimated 500 MILLION accounts!  This included significant pieces of data:

“The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,” Yahoo said in a statement.

So, what now?   Well, first, this Dilbert strip is probably indicative of Yahoo! in 2014. Well, first of all, immediately change your password and your security questions. Then, if you were using that same password anywhere else online, change it for those websites/services as well.  It’s a best practice to never use the same password for different websites, because this leaves you vulnerable in the event of a breach like this. The way I accomplish the security of my accounts is by using a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. These tools include password generators that will create unique passwords with varying levels of strength, and will then automatically save those for when you visit the site next.

So, now that we’ve covered the ‘must do’ components, let’s move on to the practical.

## Switching Services

I say this with all due respect to Yahoo! – but why on earth are you still using Yahoo! for email?  My wife has 3 Yahoo! accounts, none of which she knew the password to because she hasn’t used them in many years. But if you’re still reading, you probably are still using it today and need to switch, so let’s do that.

First, pick a new email service.  There are free options available from Google, Microsoft and Juno (?!?!) – and paid options from Microsoft (generally for business and personal domains) and privacy-focused services that don’t snoop in your data and won’t give it to the NSA like Proton Mail.

For this post, I’ll walk you through moving your data from Yahoo! to Gmail.

You can sign up at www.gmail.com, and create your account by filling out the information page.  Pick a secure password!  If you are concerned about privacy (hint: you should be), you are not required to enter a phone number or another email address. This may limit options for you to recover your account, so there’s a trade-off.gmail-account

Once you create your account, it’s time to move your data from Yahoo! to Gmail.

gmail-welcome

You’ll get some introductory messages and tutorials that you can skip for now (or walk through and then come back to this page…), and let’s dig right in to pulling in our data.

The great thing about Gmail is that most of your data can be pulled all at once, making this a quick and relatively painless procedure.

It’s important to note that if you use this service that Google has to import your email and contacts, that you are granting access to this 3rd party (ShuttleCloud) to access your data. If you are in any way concerned about the privacy of your emails, attachments or contacts, you may want to use the POP/IMAP method of importing email and CSV import of Contacts.

First, go to your Account Settings, then to the Accounts and Import tab.

gmail-settings
Click the gear and then choose ‘Settings’
gmail-accounts
Click ‘Accounts and Import’
Not only does Gmail let you import mail, but also contacts! This makes the transition much quicker. You’ll see shortly that you can also have them pull in new Yahoo! emails for the next 30 days, to help with the transition.

gmail-import
Click ‘Import mail and contacts’
Now we need to tell Google what account we want to import from (yes, you can do more than one!):

import-account-1

Then, we need to authorize ShuttleCloud to read our emails and contacts:

import-permissions

Then, we select what we want to import:

import-options

And, then we wait!

import-wait

To verify the data, compare your Contacts in Yahoo!:

yahoo-contacts

With your Gmail Contacts:

contacts

gmail-contacts
Notice it’s off by 1. This could be due to duplicates or some other issue. Double-check your contacts.
Next, you’ll see your emails flow in – all labeled with your Yahoo! email address as shown below:

importedmail

And that’s it!  It can take a few days if you have years and years of old emails sitting around, but otherwise, you’re all set!  If you do have problems with data importing, you can check out the Gmail help pages or community, or try other methods to import (POP/IMAP or CSV for contacts). You may find you want a fresh start and not have all the old emails weighing you down- it’s up to you!

Gmail is very intuitive and easy to use, and easy to set up on your iOS or Android device. If you’re new to the Google ecosystem, you’ll find that their cloud products are easy to use and work well across all Operating Systems – mobile and desktop.