Recently, Google released Confidential Mode for the desktop version of Gmail. What this feature does is quite important for many users. With it, you can compose a message to include an expiration date. In other words, you set a date for that sensitive email and, when the date arrives, that email vanishes from the recipient's inbox. Because of this, you don't have to worry about that sensitive information sitting around in someone's email client. This feature is great for those who want to exercise a bit of control over how long someone has to view company details and data.
In a move that should make a lot of users happy, Google has brought this feature to the mobile Gmail client. It's easy to use, enabled by default, and ready to go. Lets walk through the process of sending an email in Confidential Mode with the Gmail mobile app. I'll demonstrate on Android Pie, running on an Essential PH-1.
SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)
What you'll need
The only thing you'll need is the most recent update (August 22, 2018) to the Gmail app. With that in hand (or on phone), let's make use of the new feature.
Composing an email in Confidential Mode
Open the Gmail app, and set about composing an email as you always do. When you compose that email, you'll notice the menu button in the top right corner of the composition window (this has been there for awhile). If you tap on that, you'll see a new entry (Figure A).
Tap the Confidential Mode entry and a new window will appear (Figure B).
In this new window, you can do two things:
- Set an expiration date for the email.
- Require an SMS passcode for the email.
Once you've set your options, tap the SAVE button, compose your email, and then send it off.
If you opt to go the SMS Passcode route, you'll notice there's no placeholder for a phone number (for the SMS message to be sent). This comes into play when you hit the Send button. You'll be warned there is missing information. In that warning (Figure C), tap ADD MISSING INFORMATION.
Once you tap to add the missing information, you'll be prompted for the phone number of the recipient. Type the phone number (including the country code) and tap DONE. Tap Send again and the email will be sent.
When the recipient attempts to view the email, they will be prompted to click SEND PASSCODE (in order to receive the SMS passcode). With that passcode in hand, they can then view the email.
That's all there is to using Confidential Mode on the Gmail mobile app. It's an incredibly easy-to-use feature that prevents your sensitive data from remaining in inboxes longer than necessary. It's not a perfect solution (nor should it be considered an end-all solution), but it's a great addition to keeping your data secure.
- How to use Confidential Mode in Gmail (TechRepublic)
- Send self-destructing emails with the Gmail app (CNET)
- Why Gmail's confidential mode is good for privacy, but may be bad for businesses (TechRepublic)
- Gmail Confidential Mode lets you send top-secret emails on your phone (CNET)
- Gmail Confidential Mode misleading users with security claims, EFF says (TechRepublic)
- How to send a confidential email in Gmail on Android, iOS (TechRepublic)
- Gmail now lets you send self-destructing 'confidential mode' emails from your phone (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.