GMail now supports IMAP

Google, Mobile, Tech

GMail, the most popular (and my favorite) Email service from Google has added IMAP support in addition to the existing POP3 support. One of the advantages of IMAP is that you can sync your mail from multiple clients. With POP3, even if you read a mail from one client, it isn’t reflected on the other client and you have to re-read the E-Mails.

IMAP helps in synching the client operations to the server and this feature is one of the major reasons for the popularity of Microsoft Exchange Server.

You can enable IMAP Access in GMail via the Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP link.

Setup Instructions for most of the popular IMAP Clients can be found on (Even iPhone can sync with GMail)

I quickly setup accounts on Windows Live Mail and Outlook 2003 to see IMAP access in Action. On outlook once the account is setup, you have to explicitly subscribe to the IMAP folders.


Outlook took almost thrice the time to download the message headers when compared to Windows Live Mail. So on my home PC, I might be sticking with Windows Live Mail to read/sync GMail.

Other features:

  • Starred messages in GMail show up as "Flags" in the Email Client and vice versa
  • New folders created in the Client show up as Labels on the web client.
  • When you move a message to a folder in the client, the labels are automatically applied.

Also you don’t need to worry about the bandwidth required to download all your GMail mails ! Only the headers are downloaded by default and the mail content is downloaded on demand.

IMAP access will definitely help me save some time at my work place (My employer might say otherwise 😀 ). If GPRS cost comes down in India, I can as well setup the account on my HTC Touch 🙂 (By the way its already synching with GMail over Bluetooth 🙂 )

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Raj Oct 25, 2007 Link

    My Gmail account is yet to get IMAP. Waiting anxiously for it!

  • Venu Oct 25, 2007 Link

    As the official blog had mentioned, they are rolling it out as fast as they can for all the users 🙂 So you should be seeing it in a day or two.

    Meanwhile I am wondering what algorithm they are using to select the list of users ? “Country” is definitely ruled out 🙂

  • Raj Nov 3, 2007 Link

    Okay, so I got IMAP 2 days ago and I tried configuring it in Outlook 2007 at work (which I already use for office mail and MSN). And it failed. Searching for it revealed that a lot of people are facing problems with Outlook 2007 and Gmail IMAP. I wrote to Google and they have replied asking for screenshots and stuff. Lets see what happens. On my home laptop, I was able to configure it in Windows Live Mail but it took a lot of time to download messages. I am disappointed!

  • Venu Nov 10, 2007 Link

    yup same case at my workplace, i couldn’t configure the gmail account on office 2003.
    For gmail you do change the imap and smtp ports and I wonder if these are blocked by the corporate firewalls.

    Probably need to run ethereal once and see if it reveals something.

    For me Live Mail was pretty fast. Did you have too many mail headers which had to be downloaded ?

  • Tadas Nov 19, 2007 Link

    I even didn’t know that gmail supports POP3 🙂
    When I signup up about 2 years ago, i’m sure there wasn’t such and option…
    Well, time to try 🙂