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(Redirected from Using Gmail with Thunderbird and Mozilla Suite)
This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite / SeaMonkey
(though some menu sequences may differ).
Gmail provides free webmail accounts and POP, IMAP and SMTP servers. To add an account
in Thunderbird you need to have a Gmail webmail account, create either a POP or IMAP
account in Thunderbird and then enable it in Gmail settings using a browser.
You can create a new account by pressing the Add Mail Account button in Tools -> Account
Settings -> Account Actions. All you need to know is your email address and password, it will
congure the account settings for you. It defaults to a IMAP account but you can tell it to use a
POP account instead using a radio button. If you don't want it to automatically congure your
account press the "Manual Cong" button in the second screen of "Mail Account Setup".
After you create the POP/IMAP account in Thunderbird enable using the POP or IMAP server
with your account by:
Logging into your Gmail webmail account using a browser.
If you're using a POP account, click on "Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> POP
Download:" and choose either "Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been
downloaded)" or "Enable POP only for mail that arrives from now on".
If you're using an IMAP account, click on "Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP ->Enable
Click the "Save Changes" button.
If you're using the same Gmail POP account with multiple email clients you need to enable
recent mode in order to let each email client access all of the messages in that account. You
can do that by replacing username@gmail.com with recent:username@gmail.com as the
username in Tools -> Account Settings -> Server Settings.
The account wizard uses googlemail.com instead of gmail.com in the server names. They're
equivalent. Gmail is rebranded as Google Mail in Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom.
Type: POP
Server Name: pop3.gmail.com
User Name: Your FULL email address
Port: 995 (this should be automatically set when you select SSL)
Secure connection: SSL/TLS
Secure authentication: normal password
Type: IMAP
Server Name: imap.gmail.com
User Name: Your FULL email address
Port: 993 (this should be automatically set when you select SSL)
Secure connection: SSL/TLS
Secure authentication: normal password
Set tools -> account settings -> server settings -> advanced -> IMAP server directory to
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[Gmail] to x problems with how it lists folders in the folder pane.
Server Name: smtp.gmail.com
Port: 587 (you could also use port 25 if your ISP doesn't block it)
Username: Your FULL email address
Secure connection: STARTTLS
Secure authentication: normal password
Don't congure Thunderbird to save a copy of any messages you send in tools -> account
settings -> copies & folders. Gmail's SMTP server automatically saves a copy of any message
you send in the Sent Items folder for you.
The SMTP server also supports using port 465 with SSL/TLS. [1]
Subscriptions control whether an IMAP folder is visible in the folder pane (and any lists of
folders). If it is cluttered with folders you don't normally use, you might want to hide some by
unsubscribing them. You won't be notied of new mail in unsubscribed folders.
You can subscribe or unsubscribe a folder by:
Right click on the Inbox. 1.
Select Subscribe. 2.
Click on the '>' next to the Inbox to expand the folder list. 3.
Check any folders you want to make visible (subscribe), uncheck any you want to hide
Press the OK button. 5.
You can also use the Subscribe and Unsubscribe buttons in that menu.
All Mail
Gmail IMAP accounts have a All Mail folder which contains a copy of every message. This is
an artifact of how Gmail implemented labels, not a Thunderbird quirk. That folder is also used
as the archive folder.
Tools -> Account Settings -> Gmail -> Synchronization & Storage -> Advanced is congured to
keep a local copy of all IMAP folders on your hard disk. The All Mail folder doubles the amount
of disk space used by your Gmail account and may cause some problems. It is recommended
that you remove it. The safe way to do that is:
Uncheck it in Synchronization & Storage -> Advanced 1.
Unsubscribe it (see above) 2.
Press the "show folder" button in Help -> Troubleshooting Information to view the prole
directory using Windows Explorer.
Exit Thunderbird. 4.
Go to ..\ImapMail\imap.gmail.com (or ..\ImapMail\imap.googlemail.com if you use the
googlemail mail server)
Delete both "All Mail." and "All Mail.msf". 6.
Restart Thunderbird. 7.
If you have multiple Gmail IMAP accounts some of the directories will have a numeric prex
such as imap.gmail-1.com. Look at the "Local Directory" setting at the bottom of the Tools ->
Account Settings -> account_name -> Server Settings (by the browse button) to nd the name
of that account's directory.
Troubleshooting and Gmail quirks
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Gmail treats POP and IMAP messages individually and not as a threaded conversation.
The IMAP support is buggy/incomplete, though it's improved a lot since it was rst available.
\Answered and \Recent ags on messages are not supported.
Only the From, CC, BCC, To, and Subject headers can be searched. All searches are
assumed to be words. Searching for messages based on the Subject fails if it contains an
underscore, but the search incorrectly nds messages whose body contains an
underscore. Subject searches also fail if the search string contains a dot or an open or
closed parenthesis as in the correct subject of messages. For example, a search of
"2006.01.15" fails to nd any message containing "2006.01.15" in the subject eld (an
exact search such as "2006.01.15 hello" also fails to nd a message exactly titled
"2006.01.15 hello"). This bug has been raised to the Gmail team and they are aware of it.
If you exceed 15 connections per account you will get either a "Too many simultaneous
connections" or a "Account exceeded command or bandwidth limits" error. Typically, an
additional connection needed for each folder that you automatically check for new mail for,
so this might limit how many folders you can enable for "when getting new mail for this
account, always check this folder" in folder properties. This error can also cause you to be
blocked from Gmail for 24 hours. [2] [3]
The IMAP folders correspond to the labels in Gmail's webmail. IMAP folder hierarchy is
represented by "/" in Gmail's label. e.g. IMAP subfolder XYZ under ABC is mapped to label of
ABC/XYZ(maximum length=40 bytes). However, mapping of IMAP folder to Gmail's folder or
label at Web interface is special on some special folders.
IMAP folder of [Gmail]/All Mail, [Gmail]/Drafts, [Gmail]/Sent Mail, [Gmail]/Spam,
[Gmail]/Starred, [Gmail]/Trash
=> Gmail's folder of All Mail, Drafts, Sent mail, Spam, Starred, Trash.
Other IMAP folders such as XYZ under [Gmail]
=> Gmail's label of [Gmail]/XYZ.
Root level IMAP folder of Drafts, Sent, Trash
=> Gmail's label of [Imap]/Drafts, [Imap]/Sent, [Imap]/Trash.
If you look at the All Mail folder([Gmail]/All Mail of IMAP) using Gmails webmail it will label any
IMAP messages with the name of the folder. If you delete a message in Thunderbird it simply
removes that folder's label from the message. Compacting the folder doesn't remove the
message from the All Mail folder([Gmail]/All Mail of IMAP). You need to move it to the Trash or
Spam folder([Gmail]/All Mail or [Gmail]/Spam of IMAP) to delete the message from all folders.
It's not clear yet if this is also true for Message aging. Moving back of mail in [Gmail]/All Mail of
IMAP to any IMAP mail folder(except [Gmail]/Spam) restores all Gmail's label.
A single copy of each message is stored in the account, and if the messages has multiple
labels there are pointers to that copy, a change introduced in version 17.0.2 by bug 721316 .
(Prior to version 17.0.2 a copy of a message is stored for each label. That means if you assign
two labels to a message and star it using Gmails webmail it has a copy in two folders named
after the label, the All Mail folder, and the Starred folder.) If you copy a message to multiple
remote folders (using Thunderbird) it will be marked with the corresponding labels when
viewed using Gmail webmail.
If you move a message into the Spam folder, it is treated the same as if you had reported it in
Gmail webmail using 'Report Spam'. See How do actions sync in IMAP? on Gmails web site
for more information on how it maps things.
Gmail recommends that you do not use [Gmail]/Trash as your Trash folder since Gmail only
keeps a single copy of a message with multiple labels. If you delete a message that way
you're also telling it to delete the same message from any other folder (label) that has
that message. [4] [5] Gmail recommends not making Thunderbird move deleted mail into
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any folder and instead choose "Just mark it as deleted" from "When I delete a message" in
Account Settings -> Server Settings.
Gmail imposes an unspecied limit on how many messages you can upload during a
short amount of time. If you exceed it, you get temporarily locked out of the account. It is
not clear yet whether this is actually a bandwidth limit. A similar limit has been reported in
the forums for downloading messages. This was primarily observed when ofine folders
are enabled. In those cases, a large amount of messages was downloaded on initial
synchronization or when reindexing an IMAP folder.
Gmail periodically re-indexs your mailbox. If you're using a IMAP server its possible deleted
messages from your Sent Mail folder might get resurrected when that happens. You can
prevent that by setting "When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last
visible IMAP folder:" to "Immediately delete the message forever" in Gmail webmail's
"Forwarding and POP/IMAP" settings. [6]
If large messages or attachments are truncated, set mail.server.default.fetch_by_chunks =
false to work around a size bug in Gmail.
Gmail has problems with non-ASCII characters in headers. This might occur if they're used
in a recipient's email address, folder names or tags. To work around the bugs in Gmail
header elds, go to "Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> General -> Cong Editor (button)",
right-click anywhere in the list of preferences, select New, select Boolean, copy-paste
mail.imap.use_envelope_cmd, and set it to true. [7] [8]
The Gmail list of known IMAP issues mentions that the "All Mail" folder can have well
over 100,000 messages and that some email clients may crash if they try to process a
folder with that many messages. Thunderbird doesn't have any known limit on the
maximum number of messages in a folder, but most of the attention has been on the
maximum size of a folder.
This forum thread discusses some more quirks. Please check bugs listed in the
dependency tree for bug 402793(meta bug) with "Show Resolved" before opening a bug
relevant to Gmail IMAP at bugzilla.mozilla.org.
If you send a message from your Gmail account to the same Gmail account in Thunderbird,
that message will not be downloaded into Thunderbird. The message will, however, appear
in your Gmail Inbox if you log into your account using the Gmail web interface. This is not a
bug in Thunderbird; it is a quirk in the way Gmail implements POP. If you use IMAP, an
e-mail sent to yourself shows up in Inbox, [Gmail]All Mail, and [Gmail]/Sent Mail folders.
Gmail's SMTP server ignores whatever "From:" address you might specify using multiple
identity support by default and uses your Gmail authenticated address instead. You have to
register any other address using Gmail's web interface at Setting -> Accounts -> "Add
another email address" to enable it as "From:" address. Your authenticated Gmail address
is still added as a secondary "Sender:" header.
If Thunderbird refuses to use the correct outgoing (SMTP) server, see the
"Troubleshooting" section in this article.
The Gmail SMTP server now ofcially supports both STARTTLS (port 587) and SSL/TLS
(port 465). Note: Thunderbird 3.0 renamed TLS to STARTTLS and SSL to SSL/TLS.
Gmail scans attachments for viruses and blocks any that it thinks contains executables.
This includes .zip les. You can work around this by changing the lenames to use le
extensions it doesn't recognize. However, since that violates their policies you could
potentially lose your Gmail account. A better solution might be to use a free le hosting site
such as RapidShare , MegaUpload or YouSendit and send a link to the le instead.
Disposable addresses
Gmail supports plus-addressing , a useful way to create a disposable email address. Let's
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say your email address is JohnSmith@gmail.com and you need to give the xyzzy website an
email address. If you give them JohnSmith+xyzzy@gmail.com, it will still be delivered to your
inbox, despite the To: header having an extra "+xyzzy". If somebody starts sending spam to
that email address, you could create a message lter that tests for xyzzy in the To: header and
automatically delete (or move to the Junk mail folder) those messages when checking for new
mail. Some email systems violate RFC 2822 and won't send a message using plus
addressing, but it is normally not a problem.
Mail fetcher
Gmail supports a way to periodically fetch email from up to ve POP accounts and merge
them into your inbox. The POP accounts could be provided by Gmail or another email
provider. It works with Thunderbird, but you have to congure mail fetcher using Gmail
Two step verication
The Google Account help advocates using two step authentication . That sends a code (a
minimum of once a month but ideally every time you log in) to your cell phone that you need to
enter when logging in using a browser. However applications such as email clients can't do
that. If you congure two step verication you need to create an application specic
password for Thunderbird that you use instead of the normal password. The application
specic password doesn't change when a new code is sent to your cell phone.
Two step verication is not needed, and not recommended. Use a strong password, and don't
use the same password with other email providers/web sites, instead. However, if you have
another email account it is a good idea to set a recovery email address in case you ever
forget/lose your password.
Synchronizing contacts
Gmail supports the CardDAV protocol (an address book client/server protocol designed to
allow users to access and share contact data on a server). Currently the SoGo connector
add-on is the best way to add CardDav support to Thunderbird. However, it has a reputation
as being buggy and having poor support. There is a bug report requesting built-in support
for CardDAV. The address book is being completely redesigned and will include support for
multiple contact providers. Based on this blog post it looks like that will eventually include
support for CardDAV. See this forum thread for information on other alternatives.
The most popular solution is to use an add-on such as Zindus or Google Contacts to
synchronize your address book with Google Contacts.
Gmail does not provide a LDAP server. LDAP is another protocol to access contact data.
Thunderbird has built-in support for creating an address book that uses a LDAP server, but no
support for modifying its contacts. You used to be able to use GCALDaemon to provide a
the equivalent of a Gmail LDAP server, but it used the deprecated GData API, and doesn't
work anymore.
See also
Modify Thunderbird settings
IMAP: advanced account conguration
External links
Congure email delivery describes what your admin needs to do to use your own domain
with the Gmail mail servers.
Disable Gmail spam lter, include spam in POP3 download
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Gmail known issues
How what you do in a email client appears in webmail
How to automatically fetch email from other accounts into your Gmail account
What it means if the Gmail radio buttons for POP don't remain selected
Zindus add-on to sync address book with Gmail
This bug effects other email providers but is most frequently reported for Gmail.
TB16 Redownloads messages / Constantly bringing folders "up to date" / horrible IMAP
Categories: E-mail account setup (Thunderbird) | Mail (Mozilla Suite) | IMAP
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