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How to Access Gmail via IMAP in Your Email Program or Mobile Device

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What if you could access your Gmail account not only via the web but also in just about any email program or perhaps a mobile device? What if you could not only download new messages but freely open every email archived in your Gmail account? What if you could see all your labels, too, as folders and apply tags by copying messages to folders? What if you could change email programs on the fly?

Of course, it would be cruel to ask all these questions unless there was a way that answers them in the affirmative. Right?

Of course, Gmail is not cruel. Its IMAP access does indeed work in most email programs, and it provides seamless access to all your folders and labels (unless you hide them). It's only the contacts that you'll have to synchronize manually.

Access Gmail via IMAP in Your Email Program or Mobile Device

To access a Gmail account in your email program or mobile device via the IMAP interface:

  • Choose Settings from the top Gmail navigation bar.
  • Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  • Make sure Enable IMAP is selected under IMAP Access:.
  • Click Save Changes.

Accessing Gmail through IMAP lets you label messages, archive them, report spam and more — comfortably.

Set Up Your Email Client for Gmail IMAP Access

Now set up a new IMAP account in your email client:

If your email program is not listed above, try these generic settings:

  • IMAP server: imap.gmail.com
  • Port: 993
  • Require SSL: Yes
  • User name: your Gmail account name
    • The account name is what precedes "@gmail.com" in your Gmail address. If your Gmail address is "qwer.qwer@gmail.com", for example, the corresponding account name is "qwer.qwer".
  • Password: your Gmail password
  • SMTP server: smtp.gmail.com
  • Port: 465
  • Require SSL/STARTTLS: Yes
  • Require SMTP authentication: Yes
  • User name: your Gmail account name
  • Password: your Gmail password

If your email program does not support IMAP or if your prefer to just download newly arriving messages to your computer: Gmail also offers POP access.

(Updated September 2011)

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