Recommended IMAP client settings

All IMAP clients differ, and you can configure your mail client's settings to best suit your needs. However, to work optimally with Gmail, we recommend certain settings. Click on your client below to view our recommended configuration.

iPhone

From your mail account's Advanced Settings:

Deleted Mailbox > On My iPhone > Trash
Deleted Messages > Remove > Never

With these settings, messages deleted from the web interface will show up only under your [Gmail]/Trash folder. In addition, messages trashed from the iPhone will show up under your iPhone Trash folder and your [Gmail]/All Mail folder.

Note: If you're using an iPhone with software update 1.1.3 or later and you automatically configured IMAP by tapping the large Gmail icon in Mail, messages trashed from your iPhone will be moved to the [Gmail]/Trash folder rather than the [Gmail]/All Mail folder, where these messages are set to be permanently deleted after 30 days. For more information, please see our article on deleting and archiving on iPhones or visit Apple Support.

To avoid this type of deletion behavior, please manually configure your iPhone.

Thunderbird

From the Tools menu, select Account Settings and highlight your Gmail address.

  1. On the Server Settings tab:

    Check for new messages at startup > checked
    Check for new messages every 10 minutes > checked
    When I delete a message > Mark it as deleted
    Clean up ("Expunge") Inbox on Exit > leave unchecked
    Empty Trash on Exit > leave unchecked

  2. On the Copies & Folders tab in the When sending messages, automatically section:

    Place a copy in > leave unchecked

  3. On the Copies & Folders tab in the Drafts and Templates section:

    Keep message drafts in > Other
    Other >[Your Gmail address] > [Gmail] > Drafts

  4. On the Junk Settings tab

    Enable adaptive junk mail controls > leave unchecked

  5. Click OK to save and close your account settings.

    If you'd like to to further enhance your IMAP experience, follow these additional steps:

    1. In the 'Tools' menu, open Options.
    2. On the 'Advanced' tab, open the General section.
    3. Click the Config Editor button.
    4. In the 'Filter' box, type 'browser.cache.memory.capacity'
    5. Double-click on the browser.cache.memory.capacity entry to edit its value.
    6. Change the value to '30720' and click OK.
    7. Delete the text in the 'Filter' box and type 'mail.server.default.fetch_by_chunks'
    8. Double-click on the mail.server.default.fetch_by_chunks entry to set its value to false.
    9. Close the 'about:config' window and then close 'Options' by clicking OK.
Apple Mail

From the Mail menu, click Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviors

Drafts:
Store draft messages on the server > leave unchecked

Sent:
Store sent messages on the server > leave unchecked

Junk:
Store junk messages on the server > checked
Delete junk messages when > Never

Trash:
Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox > leave unchecked
Store deleted messages on the server > leave unchecked

Outlook

In the Email Options settings reached by selecting Tools > Options > Preferences:

Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder > leave unchecked

Outlook Express

On the Send tab in Tools > Options:

Save copy of sent messages in the "Sent Items" folder > leave unchecked

Send messages immediately > checked

If you're not using one of the above listed clients, as a general rule, we suggest the following settings:

Sending:

  • Do not save sent messages on the server. If your client is sending mail through Gmail's SMTP server, your sent messages will be automatically copied to the [Gmail]/Sent Mail folder.
  • DO save draft messages on the server. If you want your drafts in your mail client to sync correctly with Gmail's web interface, set your client to save drafts to the [Gmail]/Drafts folder.

Deleting:

  • Do not save deleted messages on the server. Messages that are deleted from an IMAP folder (except for those in [Gmail]/Spam or [Gmail]/Trash) only have that label removed and still exist in All Mail. Hence, your client doesn't need to store an extra copy of a deleted message.
  • Do not save deleted messages to your [Gmail]/Trash folder because this will delete a message in all folders.
  • Do not save deleted messages to your [Gmail]/All Mail folder as some clients will try to empty this folder and ultimately fail. This can lead to delayed mail access or excessive battery consumption on a mobile device.

Junk mail and spam:

  • Do not enable your client's junk mail filters. Gmail's spam filters also work in your IMAP client, and we recommend turning off any additional anti-spam or junk mail filters within your client. Your client's filter will attempt to download and classify all of your existing messages, which may slow down your client until the process is complete.