Recommendations for setting up IMAP

As an administrator, follow these recommendations when you set up IMAP for your organization. First, complete the steps for admins. Then, make sure that your users turn on IMAP. If needed, have users refer to the troubleshooting section below.

Admin tasks

Turn on IMAP

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGmailand thenEnd User Access.
  3. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  4. Scroll to POP and IMAP access
  5. Click Enable IMAP access for all users.
  6. Choose an option for allowed email clients:
    • Allow any mail client—Any IMAP email client can sync with Gmail.
    • Restrict which mail clients users can use (OAuth mail clients only)—Limit the third-party email clients that can sync with Gmail. 
      1. Enter the OAuth IDs of allowed email clients in the Comma separated list of OAuth client IDs field. For details, see OAuth IDs for common email clients.
      2. (Optional) To add more clients, separate OAuth IDs with a comma.
        Important: You can’t add third-party email clients that use domain-wide delegation through a service account.
  7. Repeat these steps for each organizational unit where you want to turn on IMAP.
  8. Click Save. If you configured a child organizational unit, you might be able to Inherit or Override a parent organizational unit's settings.

It can take up to 24 hours for IMAP changes to take effect.

(Optional) Turn on less secure apps

If necessary, you can also turn on less secure apps for your users. Find the instructions at Manage access to less secure apps.

User tasks

Turn on IMAP

Have your users follow the instructions to Turn on IMAP in Gmail.


If you have issues getting IMAP to work, try these troubleshooting steps.

Enabling less secure apps leaves your data less secure.
  • (Not Recommended) Turn on less secure apps on your Google Account page—If less secure app access is turned off for your account, leave this off and switch to more secure apps instead. If you can’t switch to a third-party mail app that supports modern security standards, you can turn less secure app access back on.
  • Unlock CAPTCHA—If you can’t access your email, you might need to Take a CAPTCHA test.

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