What to Know

  • Select the Chat tab. Choose a conversation, select the person's name at the top, and choose Turn on history.
  • If you see Turn off history instead, chat history is already turned on.
  • In the small chat window, select the three dots > Turn on history.

This article explains how to save your Gmail Chat history.

How to Turn On Google Chat History

Google saves your conversations in Gmail Chats by default. Here's how to turn this feature on and off for inidivdual conversations.

  1. In a web browser, go to your Gmail inbox and select the Chat tab.

    The Chat tab highlighted in Gmail

  2. Choose a chat conversation in the left sidebar, then select the person's name at the top to open a dropdown menu.

    Name dropdown highlighted in Gmail Chat

  3. Select Turn on history.

    If you see Turn off history instead, chat history is already turned on.

    Turn on history highlighted in Gmail Chat

  4. It should change to Turn off history, indicating that your chat history is being saved.

    Turn off history highlighted in Gmail Chat

  5. The steps are a little different if you're chatting in the small chat window.

    To open the conversation in a small chat window, select the Open in Pop-up icon next to the conversation or in the upper-right corner.

    Open in a Pop-up icon highlighted in Gmail Chat

  6. Select the three dots in the upper-right corner of the chat window.

    Three dot menu highlighted in the Gmail Chat window

  7. Select Turn on history. If you see Turn off history instead, chat history is already turned on.

    Turn off history highlighted in a Gmail Chat window

What Happens When I Turn Off Gmail Chat History?

If history is disabled, messages may disappear before the intended recipient reads them. Also, if one party disables the history feature, Google won't save the conversation. However, if a user is accessing the chat through a different client, their client may be able to save the chat history despite disabling the Google Chats history setting.

How to Archive Gmail Chat Conversations

If you don't want to delete your chats, you can hide them and view them later. Open the chat conversation, select the person's name at the top (or the three-dot menu in the small chat window) and select Hide conversation.

Hide conversation highlighted in Gmail Chat

The conversation will disappear from your list. When you start a new Gmail Chat conversation, your old chats will still be visible.

FAQ

  • What does Idle mean in Google Chat?

    If you see the Idle icon (an orange bubble) next to a user in Google Chat, it means that they have been inactive for five minutes or longer. Likewise, your status will change to Idle in Google Chat if you don't do anything for five minutes.

  • How do I chat in Google Docs?

    To chat in Google Docs, share a document with the person you want to chat with, then select the Show Chat icon (the person and the speech bubble) in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  • How do I turn off history in Google Chat?

    In the chat window, select the person's name or the three-dot menu > Turn Off History. Then, select Delete conversation to permanently delete your chat history.

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