How to save photos and videos in Gmail?

👤 Adamya Neupane    🕒 11 Mar 2023    📁 TECH

Our generation uses Gmail a lot. Me, my friends, my coworkers, all use Gmail a lot. If I was really thinking about it, my professional workflow depends on Gmail. Having used this platform a lot for a long time for professional communication, I have come across a fair amount of problems and solutions. Today, we are discussing one of the problems I face. Saving photos and videos from Gmail. 

Now, this is somewhat tricky. Not because the process is difficult, but because there are some confusing hoops to go through. Let’s take a look at the issue and try to understand how to save the data that comes with mail.

The Process of Directly Saving Photos and Videos

The process of saving photos and videos is simple. There are two methods that you can go about. Let’s take a look at both of them. 

Method 1

  1. Open the mail containing the photo or video attachment
  2. Hover over the attachment.
  3. You can see a download icon that looks like this. 
  4. Click on the download icon. 
  5. Once the download is complete, you can access it in the downloads folder. Alternatively, if you have specified some other folder for storing the download, you’ll find the file there. 

In this method, you save the files to your computer. Or, your local machine as we tech geeks like to call it. But, there is another method where you can bypass the download process. With this method, you can save the file directly in Google Drive. 

Method 2

  1. Follow the same steps until 2. 
  2. Besides the download icon, you’ll be able to see an icon that looks like google drive’s logo. 
  3. Click on that icon.
  4. This will save the files to google drive. 
  5. To access the files, head to google drive.

Here, I will show an example of how both processes work. Let’s take a look.

fig. mail forwarded by a friend to me

So, a friend of mine has forwarded me a mail that contains 4 attachments. We will be working with the OUTPUT.pdf file. When we hover over the file, we can see the following options. 

Click on download button
fig. Click on download button

The highlighted button is the download button. On clicking this button, the file shared will be downloaded and we can work on it while offline. Now, if you want to choose Method 2, take a look at the image below.

drive save button
fig. Click on drive save button next to download button

This is the “Save to Drive” button. It will save your file to your mail-receiving Google Drive. On clicking this button, you will see the following prompt. 

Add to drive message
fig. Added to My Drive

After this message, the “Save to Drive” button will change to the following.

Manage to Drive button
fig. Manage to Drive button

This is the “Manage in Drive” button. On clicking this button, you will see the following box. 

Drive Management
fig. Drive Management

If you click on “My Drive” here, you will be redirected to your google drive on a new tab. The file that you saved will be highlighted for you. This is how it looks. 

File in drive
fig. File in Drive

Here, we are able to see all the relevant things. Including the owner’s name, last modified date, and the size of the file. 

Other Ways

Yes, there are other ways to save photos and videos in Gmail, Besides downloading them directly to your device or saving them to Google Drive, there are a few other options you might find helpful.

  1. Save to Google Photos
    If you're using Google Photos, you can save photos and videos directly to your library by clicking on the Google Photos icon that appears next to the attachment in Gmail. This is a great way to keep all your photos and videos organized in one place.
  2. Forward to another email address
    If you want to save an attachment for later, you can forward the email containing the attachment to another email address you own, like your personal email address. This creates a new email thread with the attachment included, which you can access from your other email account.
  3. Print to PDF
    If you want to save a photo or document as a PDF file, you can use the "Print" function in Gmail to print the email and its attachment as a PDF. Just open the email, click on "Print", and select "Save as PDF" as the printer option.
  4. Save to a cloud storage service
    If you use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, OneDrive, or iCloud, you can save attachments directly to your cloud storage account by clicking on the corresponding icon that appears next to the attachment in Gmail. This can be a great way to keep your files backed up and easily accessible from multiple devices.

Do I have to do the same for all files?

While you can receive small files (under 25MB) directly with mail, some files come with a google drive link. This is because the maximum sharing size of a file is 25MB. If you intend to share files bigger than 25MB, you’re bound to use google drive. Let’s take a look at how that process works. 

Sender Side

Here, I am trying to send a video to my primary email with my secondary email. I am composing a mail.

Sending large video files
fig. Sending large video files

I attach the following file titled “Video”. 

large video file
fig. large video file

Here, We can see that it exceeds the 25MB limit by another 10MB. When I click on “open”, I get the following dialog box. 

Drive Link Dialog
fig. Drive Link Dialog

After clicking on “Ok, got it”, the file is uploaded to google drive as follows. 

Attaching file process
fig. Attaching file process

This is the composed mail after the attachment. 

Attached Video
fig. Attached Video

On clicking send, I am prompted with the following dialog again. 

onclick send button
fig. Click on Send button

Receiver Side

Here, I have received the video that was sent by my secondary account. 

video receive
fig. video received

On opening that mail, the video gets saved to Drive. We can see it in the image below.

Drive Video
fig. Video saved in Drive


From the above processes, we can understand how saving images and videos from Gmail works. We looked at multiple ways which would allow us to save files from Gmail. If the processes I explained have helped you, consider buying me a coffee from the link below. Glad to have been of any help.