Get started with IMAP and POP3

What is POP and IMAP?
POP and IMAP is what allows you to download messages from Gmail's servers onto your computer so you can access your mail with a program like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird, even when you aren't connected to the Internet.
How much does POP and IMAP cost?
POP and IMAP access are free for all Gmail users.
What's the difference between POP and IMAP?
If you're trying to decide between using POP and IMAP, we encourage you to use IMAP.

Unlike POP, IMAP offers two-way communication between your web Gmail and your email client. This means when you log in to Gmail using a web browser, actions you perform on email clients and mobile devices (ex: putting mail in a 'work' folder) will instantly and automatically appear in Gmail (ex: it will already have a 'work' label on that email the next time you sign in).

IMAP also provides a better method to access your mail from multiple devices. If you check your email at work, on your mobile phone, and again at home, IMAP ensures that new mail is accessible from any device at any given time.

Finally, IMAP offers a more stable experience overall. Whereas POP is prone to losing messages or downloading the same messages multiple times, IMAP avoids this through two-way syncing capabilities between your mail clients and your web Gmail.

How will using a mail client affect automatic replies?
Some clients may behave in unexpected ways when you set up automatic email replies. We recommend using Gmail’s vacation responder, configurable in Gmail Settings, rather than one provided by the IMAP or POP client. Learn more.
Select an option below for instructions on how to enable POP or IMAP