How to encrypt your email

Joshua Cox-Steib

Oct 27, 2021 — 5 min read

We show you how to keep your private emails private.

Older Caucasian woman using digital tablet on sofa

Knowing how to encrypt email can be crucial in today’s digital age. Beyond learning how to send a secure email, a virtual private network (VPN) can add an extra layer of privacy and protection.

For example, many people access personal banking and other financial information online using their internet service. This sort of information can be better protected with a VPN like Express VPN.

When it comes to email, sending and receiving confidential information, including your Social Security number or other sensitive data, can be protected with email encryption.

No matter your email provider, Allconnect is here to help make your online experience safer by providing instructions on email encryption.

What is email encryption?

Email encryption is a way of making it harder for unintended eyes to read the contents of your email. With encryption, the contents of the email are effectively disguised. It becomes more difficult for bad actors to access and read them. This can help protect individuals and companies from the loss of private information, including personal financial details, login information and more.

Encryption is available with many mainstream email providers. For example, you can learn how to send a secure email in Outlook or how to encrypt email in Gmail. While some technical steps are involved, learning how to send encrypted email in Outlook or use Gmail encryption can be done relatively quickly.

Email accounts with your ISP

It’s common for your internet service provider (ISP) to provide you with an email account linked to your internet service plan. Your ISP can technically access and see your emails with these accounts because it is within their system and moving through their network. VPNs will not keep your ISP from seeing your email as the message still has to pass through their network on the way to the VPN. In these cases, one of the best ways to encrypt your email so that your ISP has a more challenging time accessing it is by using a different email provider that offers encryption options.

Types of email encryption

There are two primary types of email encryption that are commonly available. These types are S/MiMe and PGP/MiMe. Many email providers allow for one or the other of these encryption methods.

How encryption keys are generated and stored is one of the notable differences between these two types of encryptions. S/MiMe has key codes created for you (public keys), while you can create your own keys with PGP/MiMe (private keys). The second big difference is that S/MiMe is built into many of the larger companies’ services. PGP/MiMe generally requires third-party software to be used. Diving deeper, S/MiMe is supported to encrypt email Outlook, IOS and Gmail. PGP/MiMe is supported by Android devices, AOL and Yahoo, among others.

How to encrypt email in Gmail

  1. To set up encrypted email with Gmail, sign in to your Google admin account at your Google admin page and follow Google’s guide to enable hosted S/MiMe for message encryption.
  2. Write your email or message.
  3. Click on the lock icon next to the email address of the person you are sending it to. This activates encrypted email Gmail.
  4. To change encryption levels, you can select “view details” and choose different levels of encryption.
  5. It’s important to note that the recipient needs to have S/MiMe enabled and the sender for Gmail encryption to work. If they are unfamiliar with the system, you may have to share how to encrypt email Gmail.

How to encrypt email in Outlook

  1. The first step to encrypt email in Outlook involves enabling S/MiMe on Microsoft outlook. This requires a digital ID from an administrator or IT professional in your organization.
  2. Install S/MiMe control software by following these steps: “Go to Settings iconSettings > Mail > S/MIME. Look for To use S/MIME, you need to install the S/Mime control. To install it, click here. Select Click here.”
  3. Click the gear icon in Outlook Web to find the S/MiMe settings, and from there, select the degree of encryption you want to encrypt email Outlook. Now you can send secure email in Outlook.

How to encrypt email for IOS

  1. IOS is designed to make it easy when finding out how to send a secure email. Within your phone settings, go into advanced settings.
  2. Click on S/MiMe to turn it on.
  3. Turn on “encryption by default.”
  4. When you next send an email, there will be a lock icon by the recipient while writing it. Tap the lock icon to a closed position to activate encryption. To turn encryption back off, simply tap the lock again so that the lock image is in an open position.

How to encrypt email for Android

When figuring out how to send encrypted emails on Android, it can be complicated. Android does not have a built-in feature for enabling email encryption. However, there are numerous third-party apps designed to fit this purpose. Alternatively, you can use your Android to access the web version of Outlook or Gmail and use their encryption systems. Each will require some setup.  

Best practices for email protection and privacy online

  1. Use strong, unique passwords: Using a strong password makes it harder to guess or crack. Using unique passwords ensures that if one of your passwords is discovered, it won’t allow nefarious actors into the rest of your services. This can be a critical security tip for freelancers who use the internet for work.
  2. Be careful when using public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is often far less secure than private networks and can expose your information to unintended eyes.
  3. Use a reliable VPN: VPNs are one of the more powerful tools when it comes to online privacy. These services can disguise much of your personal information, like your IP address.
  4. Secure your home network from data breaches: Ensuring that your home network is well secured is the first step to keep others from high-jacking your data.
  5. Use parental controls if you have children: Children can often cause trouble online, even when they mean well. The nature of scams and other privacy mistakes makes it easier for children to create accidental weaknesses in your online security. These controls don’t just keep kids safe online but also help protect your whole family and your home.

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Joshua Cox-Steib

Written by:

Joshua Cox-Steib

Joshua Cox-Steib is a writer and contributor for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and satellite internet. Joshua holds a degree in sociology from the University of Tulsa and worked as a behavioral anal… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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