Checking E-mail has become a part of everyone’s daily routine. Gmail came as blessing for many giving users a free no-nonsense e-mail service with loads of free mailbox space. There have many innovative features that have been built around the e-mail service itself. One of the last few improvements was the inclusion of IMAP which seemed to have gone somewhat unnoticed. This post deals with IMAP, IMAP settings, Configuring IMAP in Gmail etc
What is IMAP?
We’re all used to POP3 and Google has already given us that for free as well, so why should anyone now move to IMAP? IMAP does many things that POP3 doesn’t, and a lot of these features make management of mailboxes much simpler. IMAP allows mails and their statuses to be synchronised with the server all the time. this means you can have multiple clients from different locations getting an update of the mails.
Enabling the IMAP feature on GMail
Before you start with setting up Gmail’s IMAP on any of your devices, you need a Gmail ID if you don’t already have one. Login to your account and click on the Settings link on the top. Click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab to change the settings. Click on the enable IMAP checkbox on the bottom and click on the Save Changes button. With this done, Gmail is ready to provide you with its IMAP service.
Enabling IMAP on Outlook
Now it’s time to setup an account on Microsoft Outlook for IMAP. We are using Microsoft Outlook 2003 for this purpose. It works the same on any client that supports IMAP, which includes even mobile device applications like Outlook for Windows mobile.
First click on Tools > E-Mail Accounts. Click on the Add a new e-mail account radio button and click Next.
Click on the IMAP radio button. enter all the necessary information such as your name and your Gmail e-mail address.
You will need to enter the IMAP server address and the SMTP server for the outgoing mail. If you are using some other IMAP service or one provided by your ISP, enter that information here.
For Gmail users, enter the IMAP incoming server address as imap.gmail.com and the outgoing server as smtp.gmail.com. enter the username for the account as your Gmail address in its complete form – firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case of Gmail, additional security features need to be enabled and set. Click on the more Settings button for that. Click on the Outgoing Server tab and enable and checkbox for my outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication. Set it to use the same settings as your incoming mail server.Next, click on the Advanced tab. Gmail’s IMAP incoming server runs on port 993 so set it to that and the Outgoing SMTP server’s port to 465. Click the checkboxes of both the servers to enable SSL. Click OK when done.
Downloading and accessing the mails
When the settings have been put in place, Outlook or the mail client you are using will download the mail structure used on the server. In the case of Gmail, there are not any folders but just labels. New folders with the exact same labels on Gmail will be created in your mail client.
You will notice that IMAP is initially slow as it needs to download mail folders and the topics in each one of them. Unlike POP3, all the mail isn’t downloaded together for offline use.
It is continuously synchronized with the Gmail server. every change that you make in any client anywhere will be affected on all the clients simultaneously. This means, you can actually compose a draft on your local client and save it to the Gmail drafts folder, and you can send it anytime from any other computer or device.
Folders in Gmail
Gmail doesn’t use folders but it uses labels which are somewhat the equivalent of folders in your mail client. New labels can be created through Gmail’s settings option. You can also create labels in Gmail by creating new folders within the IMAP folder on your local client. to dump mails into a folder on Gmail, set a label for the mail.
Do this by clicking on the checkbox of a mail and clicking on the more Actions dropdown menu and selecting a label from there.Gmail has loads of free space and this can also be used to backup all of your previous mails online. IMAP acts as an easy gateway to this. Simply drag and drop the folder from your mail client to the IMAP folder. mails will be automatically uploaded to your Gmail account. You will never have to worry about losing your e-mail ever again.
Google Apps users can also enable IMAP functionality, but need to remember to type in their complete email address including the domain on which Google Apps is being used.
Example: email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org
The settings (especially the port settings) vary depending on the client that you use. Outlook 2003 uses port 465 for its outgoing SMTP port, whereas a Mozilla Thunderbird user would have to configure the client to use TLS authentication on port 587.
Thanks to smparekh of sparx.be