Gmail is getting Client-side Encryption: Here’s what it means for users


  • Gmail announces client-side encryption
  • Available as Beta for Workspace users only
  • It will soon be available for Android and iOS Gmail apps

Google has launched client-side encryption in beta for its business customers, dubbed Gmail CSE (aka Gmail Client Side Encryption). This feature is available for Google Workspace Enterprise Plus, Education Plus and Education Standard customers. Google says this feature will be available on Android and iOS Gmail apps in an upcoming release.

Gmail is not the first app on Google Workspace to get client-side encryption; it has been available on Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Meet, and Google Calendar.

The feature will be off by default; administrators can Enable it from the Admin console by going to Security > Access and data control > Client-side encryption. But Administrators need to apply for the Beta program to get access to this feature; Administrators can apply for Gmail CSE until January 20, 2023.

Once enabled, client-side encryption on Gmail will ensure that any sensitive information delivered on an email (body and attachments) will be encrypted, and Google servers will not be able to decrypt it. The email header (subject, timestamps, and recipients) will remain unencrypted.

gmail cse

For sending an encrypted email, you can turn on additional encryption for email messages. This option will be shown beside the Cc and Bcc option under the padlock. Once it is turned on, the padlock will turn blue to indicate encryption.

Receiving encrypted mail works slightly differently, too. You’ll be asked to sign in again when you receive an encrypted email. The mail will be decrypted on your browser.

There are all the Gmail CSE features that you can try out if you have access to it:

  • Send and receive encrypted messages within your organisation
  • Send emails to external recipients
  • Share digital signatures with external recipients
  • Include quoted emails in a thread
  • Receive emails from other mail clients (for example, Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail)
  • Attach a file
  • Paste an image
  • Forward messages
  • Save encrypted drafts
  • Undo send

Google also clarifies that some features, such as multi-send mode, signatures, Smart Compose, translation and summaries, Confidential mode, etc., will not be available on Gmail CSE.