How to Enable and Use IMAP/POP3/SMTP on Gmail?

How to Enable and Use IMAP/POP3/SMTP for Gmail Account?

Gmail offers IMAP, POP, and SMTP protocols for non-Gmail clients that use standard SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer), through IMAP [Authenticate], POP [Auth], and SMTP [Auth] to authenticate users. 

What are IMAP and POP?

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP can be used to change SMTP settings and read messages from Gmail in other mail providers like Apple mail or Microsoft Outlook. Using IMAP, Gmail messages can be read on multiple devices including Mac, Desktop or Smartphones without downloading them.

POP stands for Post Office Protocol. With POP you can download all your mails from the email service to your Mac or PC and read it. The emails are deleted from the mail client once they are downloaded and can only be accessed from where they are stored. i.e your PC.

Incoming Connections to Servers

Below are the incoming servers for IMAP, POP and SMTP:

IMAP server – Imap.gmail.com:993 

POP server – pop.gmail.com:995 (SSL required)

SMTP server – smtp.gmail.com (TLS required)

IMAP/POP Server Sessions

Although Gmail supports non-Gmail clients, the server sessions time for IMAP, POP3 are limited. The Gmail POP sessions have a limit of 7 days which means the session will expire after this time and you will get a message saying “session expired”. The Gmail IMAP sessions expire after 24 hours. If you authenticate a session using OAuth credentials, the limit is around the validity period of access token which is usually one hour.

How to Enable IMAP / POP3?

1. Go to Settings (Click on gear icon and Click on “see all settings”)

2. Click on “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”

3. Enable “POP Download” or “IMAP Access”

Enable 3rd Party Mail Clients

Gmail sometimes blocks 3rd party less-secure mail clients like outlook or thunderbird. You can enable “Less Secure Apps” from account settings. For this follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Account
  2. Go to Sign-in and security
  3. Click on “Connected Apps and Sites”
  4. Click on “Allow Less Secure Apps”

Setup Gmail POP3 Server

If you have enabled POP3 server, enter the following information to set it up:

  • Server: pop.gmail.com
  • Encryption / Authentication: SSL
  • Port: 995
  • Username: Your Gmail Address
  • Password: Your Account Password

For more details, click here

Setup Gmail IMAP Server

If you have enabled IMAP server, enter the following information to set it up:

  • Server: imap.gmail.com
  • Encryption / Authentication: SSL
  • Port: 993
  • Username: Your Gmail Address
  • Password: Your Account Password

For more details, click here

Note: You can also enable and set up both servers simultaneously.

Setup Gmail SMTP Server

You can enter following information to setup SMTP server in your mail client:

  • Server: smtp.gmail.com
  • Encryption / Authentication: SSL (or StartTLS)
  • Port 465 (or 587)

You have now successfully enabled the forwarding of emails and POP/ IMAP access configured on your Gmail account. You can also disable the POP/IMAP by clicking on “Disable IMAP” and save settings.

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