How to Enable IMAP in Gmail

How to Enable IMAP on Gmail

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Gmail

Want Gmail emails and folders in your email program? Find out here how to enable IMAP in Gmail and let services, programs, mobile devices and more connect to your account.

First, It Is Easier to Swim in the Arctic

than to swim in the tropical seas, but not by much.

This is because one factor that contributes to buoyancy is the water’s temperature. Colder water is slightly denser and helps you float.

Want your emails to swim to your email programs, services and mobile devices (on that trip to the Arctic)? First, turn on IMAP access in Gmail. Let’s get go… swimming!

How to Enable IMAP in Gmail

Time needed: 5 minutes.

To enable IMAP access for Gmail so you can set up your account in any IMAP email program (with seamless access to all your labels as folders):

  1. Open Gmail in a desktop browser.

  2. Click the Settings gear icon () near the top right corner.

  3. Select Settings from the menu that has appeared.

  4. Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

  5. Under IMAP Access:, make sure Enable IMAP is selected.

    Note: See Gmail IMAP settings for the options also available on this page.
    Under IMAP Access:, make sure "Enable IMAP" is selected

  6. Click Save Changes.

Now, do set up your email account through IMAP using the correct Gmail IMAP settings.

Note: As a simple alternative, Gmail also supports POP access, designed for simple download of incoming emails without synchronization.

How to Enable IMAP in Gmail: FAQ

Should I enable Gmail IMAP access?


As a general rule, do not enable IMAP unless it is necessary for a specific application or service to connect though IMAP.

If the application or service can also connect through OAuth, do use OAuth and disable IMAP access to your Gmail account.

How many email programs and services can connect to Gmail at the same time?

After you have enabled IMAP in Gmail, up to 15 programs and services can connect concurrently. When that limit is reached, more connections are not possible and will return an error.

Note: Email programs may establish more than one connection to Gmail, and each one is counted.

Can I enable both POP3 and IMAP?


If messages are marked read, archived or deleted using Gmail POP3 settings, these actions will be reflected both in Gmail on the web and in IMAP email programs.

(How to enable IMAP in Gmail tested with Gmail in a desktop browser; updated July 2020)

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