iCloud+ Custom Email Domain - my experience migrating from Google Suite

Ok, so I’ve had a custom email domain for my family for over 10 years with the original Google apps, which when Google started charging for as a Google Business Suite, I was grandfathered into a free legacy Google suite program.

It was sweet - free Gmail basically with my own custom domain name for my wife and kids.

Last week Google basically sent an email out to the free legacy Google Suite users saying that from June this year we would have to upgrade to a paid subscription.

I found out that Apple had started a custom email domain for their iCloud+ subscribers based on their iCloud mail system last year, which is great timing. I’m already paying for it. Plus I have Family Sharing set up.

Over the weekend, I managed to export emails from different accounts from Gmail, set up the custom domain in iCloud, and share the custom domain via Family Sharing. Made DNS changes at my domain registrar. Wait a bit.

And it’s done! The time consuming part is uploading the emails from Gmail back onto iCloud - this is still going on as we are talking about hundreds of thousands of emails - but I wanted the old emails accessible via all my devices.

But now I have my emails on the Apple ecosystem at no extra cost, and utilising the full 2 Tb worth of iCloud storage, which is more than enough.

Just thought I would share this experience in case it helps anyone else.


Thanks for the post! As a fellow user, right now I’m doing nothing due to the survey Google are asking people to fill out if they only use it for personal use.

Fingers crossed something comes of it, and they offer a subset of the full Google Workspace at no or low cost.

More: https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/gsuite_legacy

Thanks - I am aware of that potential, but decided to bite the bullet and use iCloud+ which I was already paying for. Suits what we want to do, and seems to work well.

Thanks Erwin. Stuff like this may come in handy at some stage…

Hi Erwin,

Quick question. Did you have to remove the DNS records from Google when you were adding the iCloud DNS records, or did you add the iCloud records on top of the existing records? Am having a problem with this right now.


You don’t have to touch the settings at the Google end. The main thing is adding the iCloud information to the domain registrar DNS host records, and then making sure the iCloud account has your domain added.

So the domain registrar DNS host records is changed from pointing to Google, to pointing to Apple/ iCloud.

Follow the instructions here to change the DNS host records at your domain registrar:

Also - pro-tip - I had trouble initially getting the confirmation email to the email address - to get around it - just skip adding an email, and set up DNS. You can then go back to add the email without needing to confirm. And then wait for DNS to propagate (can take 24 hours) and then test that the emails are working.

Also, use this to check your mx records:

Enter your domain in it.

Hope the above helps.

Thanks! Will try and let you know!

Just found this post. I’m in the same situation, and have started the process. Where I’m stuck is figuring out how to upload the emails exported from Gmail to iCloud. Can you elaborate how you did that? Thanks.

I’ve done the migration too, all I did was have both Gmail and iCloud set up in Mail on one of my Macs - drag the emails from Gmail folder to equivalent iCloud folder - I did it in batches of a few hundred at a time.
And, because Gmail sticks everything in one bucket and tags it, I worked through it methodically to avoid duplication. Deleted, then sent, then in labels, then inbox, then archived. Maybe unnecessary, not sure.

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Thanks. In the end I’ve settled on the same approach. I was wary, fearing problems and data loss risks doing it that way with so much data. So I had gone to the trouble of downloading it all as a backup using a command line thingy called “GYB”. But anyhow I’ve gone with the simple drag within Mail.app, and it seems to be going ok now, and not far from finished.

The only thing that’s stopping me from moving to iCloud+ for my family custom domain is that my wife and I have an “iCloud Family” and so do my parents. At the moment, all 4 of us have @lastname.com email addresses and I can’t share the domain between two families.

They change this and I’m diving in.

So it turns out you can now with iOS 16, invite others who aren’t in your family to have an account on your domain. This is great, but, there’s still no ability to create delivery groups - say [email protected] so all 5 family members can get emails delivered to them. This is the deal-breaker that I need because of how we have things set up at the moment.

I’ve been looking at other options because I really want to get my mail service off the cPanel host that I’m using as it’s expensive and struggles to work…

Today, I’ve found that Zoho have an option that’s $1.65/user/month. This is way better than the $8.10/user/month from O365, and $8.20/user/month from Google Workspace.

Has anyone had any experience with them?

I’ve had a zoho basic account for email for a few years now, just never seem to have any problems with them. The basic account (free) also allows access to some of their inbuilt apps. I imagine a paid account would work well for your purposes.

That’s exactly what I wanted to hear! Thanks @kyte!