Google Mail, IMAP and Apple Mail

Oct 25, 2007

Gmail IMAPYesterday Google premiered IMAP connectivity for their mail platform Google Mail. It turned out pretty good but far from perfect.


  • Synchronizing protocol gives me the same state on all my devices. (workstation, cellphone, web interface, laptop, etc)
  • Centralized means backup means reliable and time-saving. (and I feel a bit safer. Once in a while computers crash and burn)
  • Labels are treated as folders, the IMAP way. Hierarchy is achieved through / (slash) separator.
  • Starring or un-starring a message is as simple as setting or unsetting the "important" flag. Very clever.


  • Very slow connection. This is a real pain in the ass. My private IMAP account and server interfaces in speeds of about 1-50 MB/s while the Gmail IMAP-connections has a burst rate of about 150 KB/s
  • Seems like Google caches folder/label indexes and only refreshes this cache when a new IMAP connection is made. IMAP clients does not disconnect very often which has a side-effect – labels created or modified in Gmail does not update in the client. The trick is to reconnect (restart Apple Mail) to do a refresh.
  • The IMAP interface is under testing and Gmail is still in beta mode, so there is no insurance whatsoever for Google not to pull the plug on IMAP. I may have to go back to POPing into my own IMAP again, which really is bit of a hack.

Further reading

Google Mail Help Center: How do I enable IMAP? Wired: Google Adds IMAP Support To GMail

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