Confidential Mode in Gmail



A few weeks ago Google opened a beta program for Gmail's handy feature confidential mode. With new features coming for this tool, I thought I'd explain what it is, how to use it and tell you how we are beginning to use it in school. So in a nutshell confidential mode allows you to send an email with a expiration date and with the option to require the receiver to enter a passcode to see the email.

At my school we are beginning to use this with sensitive information about students and staff, more specifically SEND reports and emails that share information that falls under GDPR. A passcode prevents unwanted people viewing the email, if you send it to the wrong person by accident. Expiry dates prevents sensitive emails hanging around in users inboxes indefinitely.

If you use Gmail within your school or organisation's domain, you will need to ask your admin to enable it (Apps > G Suite > Settings for Gmail > User settings). When you compose an email you will see the confidential mode icon (padlock with a clock) at the bottom of the window, see below.


When you click this the below window will open. You can set an expiry date on the email for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months or 5 years. You also get the option to ask Google to generate a passcode for the email. This will be sent to the receiver via an SMS text message to their mobile phone.


Confidential mode also prevents the receiver from forwarding, copying, printing or downloading the email content. Although they could still possibly screenshot the email. For GDPR and monitoring purposes the email will also be stored in your organisation's vault (but only to your admin, who will have this secured).

Once you select an expiry date and the passcode option, your email will now look like this. You can then type your email and add whatever you need.


When you click send on your confidential email the following window will open if you have selected passcode. You can add the mobile phone number of the recipient.


When the receiver opens the email they will see this in the email instead of the content.


When they click 'send passcode' they will be sent a generated code from Google. See below as an example.


Once the passcode is entered the recipient of the email will be able to access the confidential content.

Let us know how you and your organisation are using it to protect sensitive content.

#Safeguarding #GoogleforEducation #GoogleClassroom #Vault #gmail #confidentialmode

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