Enable IMAP and POP for Google Apps

If your Google Apps users want to use desktop clients such as Thunderbird or Outlook Express to access their Google Apps mail, you need to enable IMAP and POP access in your Google Admin console. You can enable access for everyone in your account or only for users in specific organizational units.

After you configure an advanced Gmail setting, it may take up to one hour for that configuration to propagate to individual user accounts. You can track prior changes under Admin console audit log.

If you're a Gmail user looking for instructions on syncing your account via IMAP or POP with a client such as Outlook or Thunderbird, see instead Get started with IMAP or POP.

Editions supported: Google Apps for Work and Education

How to enable POP and IMAP access
  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. From the dashboard, go to Apps > Google Apps > Gmail > Advanced settings.
  3. In the Organizations section, select the organizational unit for which you want to configure settings.
  4. Under POP and IMAP Access, select or clear the check box for Disable POP and IMAP access for all users in the domain.

If you select the check box, POP and IMAP are fully disabled for all users in your domain.

  • Users cannot access POP and IMAP settings in the Gmail interface.
  • Users cannot access their mail via POP or IMAP even if they originally had it on.

If you clear the check box, POP is enabled for your users, but IMAP remains disabled.

  • POP access is automatically turned on for your users.
  • Users need to enable IMAP in the Gmail settings under Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
It may take up to one hour for IMAP and POP changes to take effect. As long as the box is cleared, users can configure POP and IMAP access for a host of clients.
Username and password not working? Some apps require you to also turn on access for less secure apps before setting up POP/IMAP connections.
Remove folder size limits in Gmail

To use an IMAP mail client, or to migrate messages with Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, you should remove any folder size limits and expose all folders in IMAP to ensure you obtain all messages.

  1. Sign in to your Gmail account.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top right of the Gmail window.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
  5. Under Folder Size Limits, check Do not limit the number of messages in an IMAP folder (default).
  6. Click Save changes.
Show folders in Gmail
  1. Sign in to your Gmail account.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top right of the Gmail window.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Go to the Labels tab.
  5. Check Show in IMAP for All Mail and for any other label you want to include in an IMAP client or migrate.
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