Gmail Delegation: Why It Might Not Be for You

Ludovic Armand
by Ludovic Armand

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emails you receive each day? Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of your inbox?

You are not alone!

It can be easy to fall behind on your emails.

Some of you might be looking for a way to have their assistant manage their emails and calendar for them to finally achieve inbox zero.

Fortunately for you, there is a way to make it easier using email delegation. Google introduced Gmail delegation a little over a decade ago to help its users manage multiple email accounts and stay on top of their inboxes.

In this blog post, we will explore how to use Gmail delegation and why it might not be the best solution for you.

What Is Email Delegation?

Email delegation is the process of delegating access to your email account to another person. This allows the delegate to access your inbox, reply to emails, and manage your emails on your behalf. It is a great way to save time and resources, as it allows someone else to handle your emails while you focus on other tasks.

This can be useful in a number of different situations. For example, if you are going on vacation and want someone else to be able to handle your email while you are away, you can delegate access to your account to that person.

To delegate access to your email account, you will need to set up a delegate relationship in your email client. This typically involves providing the email address of the person you want to delegate access to and granting them specific permissions.

Once the delegate relationship is set up, the delegate will be able to access your email account and perform certain actions. This may include reading and responding to emails, managing your calendar and schedule, and sending emails on your behalf.

Email delegation can be a useful tool for managing your email and ensuring that important tasks are taken care of even when you are unable to do so yourself.

It is important to remember, however, that delegation should be used with caution and only granted to people you trust.

What Is Gmail Delegation?

What is Gmail delegation?

Gmail Delegation is a feature offered in both the public and the Google Workspace version that allows you to give someone else (a Gmail delegate) access to your Gmail account.

This person can:

  • Send and receive emails on your behalf
  • Delete emails

However, they can’t:

  • Access your account settings
  • Change your password

How Is a Delegated Gmail Account Different from a Collaborative Inbox?

A delegated Gmail account allows you to give another person access to your Gmail account, while a Collaborative Inbox is a shared email account that multiple people can access and use to manage email communications.

A delegated account can be useful if you need someone else to manage your email while you are unavailable or if you want to share your Gmail account with someone else like an assistant.

Google Groups’ Collaborative Inbox, on the other hand, is a shared email account that is set up specifically to allow multiple people to access and manage email communications. A collaborative inbox is often used by teams or organizations to manage customer service inquiries or other shared communications. Multiple people can access a shared mailbox to see and respond to emails sent to the alias.

Benefits of Email Delegation

Email delegation has several benefits. These advantages include:

  1. Improved productivity: Delegating email tasks to an assistant, for example, can free up your time to focus on other important tasks.
  2. Better organization: Delegating email tasks to someone else can help ensure that important messages are not missed and that tasks are done on time.
  3. Improved communication: Giving email tasks to someone else can help make sure people get fast answers with the right focus, which can make communicating with customers and coworkers better.
  4. Flexibility: Email delegation allows you to delegate tasks even if you are not physically present, making it a useful tool for managing your email while you are on vacation or working remotely.

To summarize delegating emails can save you time, as you no longer have to manage your emails on your own. Additionally, email delegation can help to ensure that important emails are not missed or forgotten.

However, email delegation should be handled carefully and that access is only given to people you can trust. Make sure that expectations and rules for delegates are clear.

It is important to remember that email delegation is not the best solution for shared inboxes. A shared inbox tool is more suitable for your team to collaborate on shared aliases.

How to Set Up Gmail Delegation

Setting up Gmail delegates can be done in only a few simple steps.

If your account is part of an organization, you'll first need to make sure that the Google Workspace admin has turned on email delegation for users.

Here’s how to set up Gmail delegation:

  1. Open your Gmail account (you can’t set up delegates in the Gmail app on iOS or Android) and go to the Settings menu ⚙️ in the top right corner.
  2. Click on See all settings and select the Accounts and Imports tab.
  3. Under the Grant access to your account section, click on the Add another account link.
  4. Enter the email address of the person you want to delegate access.
  5. Click on the Next Step >> button and then click on the Send email to grant access button to send a delegation request to the delegate.

Gmail users with organizational emails can delegate access to a group with the same domain. Members outside of the group are not allowed to the delegated Gmail.

How Do I Access Delegated Account in Gmail?

To access a Gmail delegated account, you need to be given delegated access by the owner of the account. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open your Gmail account and click on the account profile (the circle with a photo or with your initials in it) in the top right corner.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select the delegated account you want to access.
  3. The Gmail delegated account will open, and you will be able to view and send emails as if you were the owner of the account.

Once the delegated account is loaded, you’ll be able to manage the Gmail account exactly like you would with your account.

How to Remove Delegates Access in Gmail?

To remove delegate access in Gmail, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Gmail account and click the ⚙️ in the top right corner to open the Gmail settings menu.
  2. Click the See all settings button at the top of the sidebar.
  3. Select the Accounts and Imports tab.
  4. Under the Grant access to your account section click on delete right next to the delegate you want to remove.
  5. Confirm that you want to remove delegate access by clicking the Ok button.

The removed delegate will no longer have access to your account and won’t be able to view or send emails from it.

Why Gmail Delegation Is Probably Not for You

There are several reasons why Gmail delegation may not be the best tool for delegating emails. A tool like Missive might be the best solution for your needs.

Here are the main limitations when using Gmail delegates.

1. Can See That It Was Sent by Someone Else

Emails sent via Gmail delegates show they were sent by someone else

When a delegate sends an email from the owner's account, the recipient will see that it was sent by the delegate and not the owner. This can be confusing and may not be suitable in all cases.

In Missive, emails sent by delegates aren’t different from an email sent by yourself. The recipient won’t be able to know if the email was sent by you or someone else on your behalf.

2. Calendar & Contacts Need to Be Shared Separately

To delegate access to your Google calendar and Google contacts in addition to your emails, you need to grant delegate access to each of these separately. This can be inconvenient and time-consuming.

With Missive, you can share your calendar automatically so the person assisting you can create, respond and manage your events. Contacts contained in a contact book can also be shared with others. You can have multiple contact books if you want to keep some contacts private.

3. Can't Set Multiple Permissions Level

With Gmail delegation, you can only grant delegates the same level of access to all people. You cannot have multiple levels of delegates to manage their permissions like sending and deleting emails on your behalf.

When you grant the delegate access to your Gmail account, you are giving the delegate access to all of your emails. It is not possible to share only specific emails or folders with a delegate.

Missive makes it easy to manage the permissions you give to a delegate. You can give delegate access to certain emails or folders while keeping other emails and folders private. Additionally, you can easily revoke access to emails and folders whenever you need to. This makes it easy to manage and control your emails and folders, even when delegating access to others.

4. Can't Share with People Outside the Organization

Gmail delegation is only available to users of Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite) or Gmail. If you are not using Google Workspace, you will not be able to use this feature. Additionally, you can also only add a delegate within your organization or with a Gmail address if you're not part of one. If you need to delegate tasks to someone outside of your organization or to someone who is not using Gmail, Gmail delegation is not an option.

With Missive you can share your inbox with anyone, there are no restrictions on the email provider you’re using or if the delegates have the same email domain as you.

5. No Collaboration

Gmail delegation does not offer any built-in collaboration features. You and your delegate will not be able to work on emails together in real time. If you need to collaborate with your delegate on emails or other tasks, you will need to use another tool.

With Missive, you can chat with your delegates directly in an email conversation and even collaborate on drafts.

Overall, while Gmail delegation can be a useful feature in certain cases, it may not be the best tool for delegating emails depending on your needs and requirements.

Missive makes it easy and safe to delegate emails. You can decide who to delegate to, what access to give, and what actions are allowed - without having to share passwords.

Explore our ultimate guide to email delegation with Missive to learn how to get started.


Email delegation is a great way to manage multiple email accounts and stay on top of your inbox. You can save time and resources by delegating access to another person while ensuring that important emails are not missed or forgotten. So, if you are looking for a way to manage your emails more efficiently, email delegation may be just what you need.

Ludovic Armand

Digital Marketing Lead at Missive
Follow me on Twitter