How to Setup Gmail IMAP Access?

Gmail: Google Webmail ServiceGoogle has launched IMAP access for Gmail for about a month but I never get it working yet…until today.

Setup Gmail IMAP, Correctly

It is easy to setup Gmail IMAP. Simply create a new IMAP account on your email client and set the IMAP server as and as outgoing email server.

You may refer to Gmail IMAP help page for detail, step-by-step instructions to setup Gmail IMAP access for your email clients.

Gmail IMAP is supported by most email software that support IMAP protocol, that including handheld devices like iPhone, and Blackberry.

It is easy but I made a silly mistake that I only discovered few minutes ago.

The mistake of setting Gmail IMAP access

Frankly, I did not read the Gmail IMAP setup instruction step-by-step. I only checked for the IMAP server address, that’s it. It was a mistake!

Gmail IMAP - SSL Port
Image: Gmail IMAP – SSL Port

Gmail required secure connection (SSL) to connect to the IMAP server. The default non-secure connection port used is 143. Default SSL connection uses port 993.

I corrected the connection port and Gmail IMAP worked like a charm! It was very fast and downloaded 200+ emails in my Gmail INBOX.

Gmail access vs. IMAP access

List of Gmail IMAP foldersThe Gmail labels become email folders. Emails in label are not downloaded automatically until you select the label folder. If you create a new folder under the account, it will become a new Gmail label.

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An email message with multiple labels will have duplicated copies in each label folders. The downloaded email messages are not threaded like in Gmail.

Deleted emails in your email client’s are stored in a Gmail label called [Imap]/Trash. To empty the deleted emails, you either empty the Trash folder in your email client or delete the emails in the label in Gmail.

Why IMAP access?

There are many advantages of having IMAP access to your mail box. IMAP means your mail box is synced across your devices instantly and automatically.

Email are kept until you delete and empty it. Downloaded emails on a device are still accessible on another device because the emails are still on the IMAP server.

I have multiple email accounts. With IMAP access, it means that I can check all of my email accounts in single email client. It is a way to improve productivity.

Also, I always wonder why Gmail does not have “Delete and Next” button to delete currently read email message and goes to the next email. It is the default action of most email client, and I love it. By checking Gmail via IMAP, I can do that now! “Next!”

Plus, I can search my Gmail emails offline… after my email software finished downloading 8908 email messages in the All Mail folder…

Problem with Gmail IMAP?

If you haven’t gotten Gmail IMAP working, read (again) the setup instruction, follows it step-by-step. Check the recommended IMAP client settings.

Still does not work? Ask in comment here or read the Gmail known issues with IMAP.

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How do you make the best use of Gmail IMAP access? Please share with us.

email, gmail, google, IMAP

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  • Gmail IMAP is a big plus for me. I now get Push Email to my PDA phone (a Treo 680) using ChatterEmail which has a very easy to use Gmail wizard.
    The bigger plus is Gmail’s excellent spam filter which means that you don’t get junk pushed into your Inbox!

  • LcF

    @Palmdoc: ya, gmail spam filter is great. I plan to move my email accounts to Gmail via Google Apps.

  • dicky

    Yup, since i use Gmail, i never receive any spam mail! But, Yahoo! did give me a lot spam mail……..I will slowly switch all my mail account to Gmail too…..

  • Tim

    Suggest you all to use Thunderbird as email client , as mentioned in my previous post

    –blog for dream–

  • dicky

    But when gmail start launch IMAP support, i immediately switch the setting from POP3 to IMAP in my thunderbird, but after change then i cant connect to Gmail anymore. So, are you sure now we can really use thunderbird to receive IMAP mail?

  • yes, i can use it with my thunderbird mail. maybe you need to delete and recreate the mail account settings on thunderbird.

  • LcF

    @dicky: yes, thunderbird is my only email client to used :)

  • Yes. I have the same problem as before which I didn’t set to port 993 and SSL.

  • i tried to divert my hotmail to my gmail account but i can’t. Anybody manage to do that? Or hotmail/MSN do not allow that….

  • LcF

    @alzack: how did you “divert” hotmail to gmail?

  • Actually when trying to do so, the msn would not allow to redirect to any other free email such as gmail. The only allow to theirs such as, or other own…

    That’s such a disappointment for me, because i really want my hotmail to be inside my gmail….

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