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This Email will Self-destruct in…

Earlier this year, Google revamped its Gmail service with a redesigned interface and many extra features. One of these new features is the “confidential” option, which allows users to send an email that can’t be forwarded, copied, printed or downloaded; users can also set a date for it to expire and remove the recipient’s access.

The option to send this form of self-destructing email is now available on the Gmail app. In compose mode, simply tap on the three dots at the top right of the screen and select “Confidential mode.” Within this mode, you can either choose an expiration date or protect your email with a password. With the expiration date, you simply set the length of time the email will be active before it vanishes. If you want to protect your email with a password, you can choose Standard or SMS passcodes.

If you select Standard, any recipient using Gmail will be able to see your email without needing a pass code. Those using any other email server will see a link that they can link on to receive an email that contains the pass code that gives them access to your text.

Selecting “SMS pass code” requires the addition of a mobile number; everyone who receives your email will receive an SMS to their phone that contains the pass code they need to access the message.

Recipients of confidential emails will see a warning pertaining to expiry date of the message, as well as the information that it is not possible to copy, forward or download attachments.

You can block anyone’s access to an email you’ve already sent at any time. Using the Gmail app, navigate to the Sent folder, open the email in question and click on the blue “remove access” button. The email won’t be deleted from the recipient’s inbox, but the content will become inaccessible. If you want to reverse this action, simple open the email in your sent folder and tap on the blue “renew access” button.

It’s worth remembering that these protections aren’t completely fool proof: although anyone receiving your message won’t be able to forward, download or copy it (or attachments) when you use the confidential mode, there’s nothing to stop them taking a screenshot or photo of your email and any attachments you sent.