Gmail, IMAP, and Apple Mail question

Okay, so I finally decided to move one of my gmail accounts from POP to IMAP (I know, I know… should have done it all along).

My question is, what happens when I delete the old POP acct? Will it delete all my folders and old emails I’ve saved in the Apple Mail client? Apple Mail warns that it will delete all mail, but not sure if this extends to mail kept inside folders on the client.

Thanks in advance!

Hi, I don’t know about the “should have done it all along” part, though with Gmail it should be some time before you run out of space on the account, I imagine. I think I’d export all the mails you want to keep as an m-box, that you’ll be able to re-import in the event of them being wiped when you switch to IMAP.

I’m in the process of trying to find a solution for mail on two machines at the moment, and have discovered MailSteward (Lite, while I’m testing) which will create an archive on a networked drive accessible to both machines. MailSteward is better integrated with Apple Mail than with GyazMail, so I’ve tried moving back to that. Any such operations, I’ll export to mboxes for safety first.

<Grrr!!!> However, once again, the mail server hosting two of my personal accounts won’t accept the passwords from Mail, they do from GyazMail! My wife has had this problem on her MacBook running 10.4.11, but not on her iMac running 10.5.8. I’m on 10.6.2! I’m sure it’s the problem of the hosting company’s server, not Mail, but it makes Mail unusable for us on her MacBook and both my machines!

Apart from the lack of automation from GyazMail to MailSteward, it seems to me that that is going to be the solution to my problem.


Mr X,

Use IMAP. Create folders on the IMAP server for sorting. This will allow you to see the same folder structure on both systems. This was kind fo the drive for IMAP in the first place.

Deleting an account in mail will delete all the folders associated with that account. The easiest way to save your messages is to copy them to a local folder. To do this you just crete a new folder and select “On my Mac” in the dialog box. Any messages you put in that folder are now stored locally and will remain no matter what you do with the account that received the message.

Make sense?

Well yes, it does. But IMAP gave my wife problems in terms of running out of space, and lost a load of emails as a result. As I said the IP for 2 of my personal accounts refuses to accept my password in Mail when set as POP. I’ve redone it on the MBA, which has not been my main local mail machine, so it’s now IMAP … but now Mail can’t access it through the network at the university!

I have Gyazmail set to download all the mails, have rules to assign them to folders on my HD, and filters to clear out certain known spammers on the server without downloading them. The version on the MBA is set not to delete mails on the server but leave them so they’ll be downloaded onto the MBP later. Works well except with GMail, 'cos if I read them on the MBA they are marked as read on the server and then don’t download onto the MBP … have to go in with a web-browser and reset their status. And that’s the account I need most during the day.

I’ll get there!


I guess I am spoiled. It comes with running your own mail servers :wink:

I used to use IMAP with Gmail, but I had to revert to POP because I kept getting duplicate messages. Apparently this was a known issue at the time (2 or 3 years ago). I’m toying with trying it again because it remains my only email account that doesn’t use IMAP on my Mac and hence the only account that isn’t always perfectly synced across machines, my iPhone and the web.

Regarding creating an “On my Mac” folder - I have a rule set up that moves all my university emails into a local folder after 2 weeks. Doing this automatically deletes them from the server and means I always have a reference copy, but never have to worry about exceeding my paltry MB allocation.

Thanks, Jaysen.

I do have folders that are local (created On My Mac). I also wasn’t thrilled with IMAP and Gmail a few years ago and reverted back to POP. But, I’m so tired of deleting all the emails off my iPhone all the time that I thought I’d give IMAP another try.

I don’t create folders for stored mail anywhere but locally. All that’s under my inbox are: sent, trash, and junk.

I have multiple email accounts - which is why I like folders on my local drive. But, after awhile, it’s become clear I might need to either do a better folder structure or find a third party app to locate emails from the past. But, that’s a whole different post.

I was scared of hitting delete for the old POP gmail acct until I was sure it wouldn’t blow away all my emails locally. In the interim, I went into preferences and hid the acct.

You could be sneaky and create a new account for google IMAP. This is still the same account mind you, just one is pop the other imap. Now just move all the content of the POP account to the IMAP account. Bingo presto all your emails are back on google.

If you have more than 7GB of email you can just buy more google space. Then again you may want to review your email management methods…

I did notice that gmail let me select IMAP without disabling POP. Boy, was that interesting.

I think I’m fine with IMAP now. Maybe. We’ll see. It’s weird to see that gmail doesn’t hold all my emails like it used to with POP. That’s both good and bad, I suppose. I don’t really need ALL those emails. If I deal with items in my inbox and move them to local folders, I should be fine. Time Machine backs up emails anyway, and while it isn’t a disaster recover method, I could look for other options.

As for keeping everything on gmail, it’s a pain to go back and clean house every so often. So, I tell my myself this is for the best.

Got ideas for managing all the email on the local machine? I’d love to hear what works for others.

One thing I left our in the POP-IMAP move. You need to disable the POP account for checking new mail. Otherwise you will just pull the files back to the POP account.

JW: POP accounts store mail locally. Any folders you have are on the local drive not the server. IMAP will let you store folders on the server but you need to create the folder. Does that make sense?

As to mail management, my method is to let the remote server deal with the messages and just keep paying for space. If I get messages that I really don’t care about I delete them. Files I download to local drives and leave in email as long as a newer version does not come in (how many times do folks pass a doc back and forth and never delete the old docs? use SVN if you need tracking). My local files are TM and rsync backup to a pair of external drives (rsync to a 500GB mirror) providing a pretty good recovery from the end of the world.


I switchen POP off. Running on IMAP now. One day, I should go in a delete messages I don’t care about. 7GB seems more than enough space if I’m also keeping things local. IMAP is easier with the iPhone now. Just have to make sure I REALLY REALLY want to delete the message from it first.

I’m seriously thinking of a once a month backup onto a USB drive I can keep in the fire safe.

Wish AppleMail did tagging. That’s the only missing piece, I think. I could have a more linear folder structure locally, and HOPEFULLY find things easier.

Gods, I love this forum. Whatever I need to figure out, I just come here and viola! There’s always a genius at hand.

Hmm … I think MailSteward is going to do fine in terms of storing all my mails. So gradually I’m building the archive of the ones that are in the different folders on the MBP and when I’ve archived them — it means exporting from GyazMail to mboxes and then importing those into MailSteward; laborious but it’ll get easier — I’m clearing out the folders on the MBP. Then, at the end of each week, I’ll just archive the mails from that week and clear them off the hard disk.

In the meantime, IMAP is working with my two personal accounts that won’t accept the password if I set it as POP. So, I can read mails on those servers during the day … as long as I’m not on the university network! When I’m at my desk in the International Office, the only mail system that works properly is Gmail … I can’t even send mails through my .mac account when I’m there! With GyazMail, I can read the mail on all my accounts … not so with Apple Mail, courtesy of the IP in the UK and the university network here!



What was the auth method selected in for the POP accounts that are refusing the PW? Look in the advanced section of the account. Also try toggling the “Use SSL” option. Seems to me this issue is something “simple” but buried in the lower layers of the account.

Actually, the support people at the IP … and they’re in England not India … maybe that’s the problem … just deny that there is any problem to solve. Or rather, their answer is simply “Use IMAP, then” even though one has explained why IMAP is not what my wife wanted and it was giving her storage problems. Buying more space is not an option either …

It reminded me of the guy here, when I was trying to find some peripheral that would work with my TiBook, but there was no Apple driver for it … can’t remember what it was now … so he said, “Why don’t you just run Windows on it?” Their answer to everything.


That is a familiar problem. Folks see that something works so there is no need to deal with anything.

I think that the problem is the POP server is either that the server is using SSL and you are not, or the auth method on the server is actually a hash method not password. There are a few ways to check this, but it might be easiest to simply ask them what those settings should be.

You may well be right. This actually all started when the migrated their whole mail operation onto a new server …

But I’m getting myself sorted this way for the moment, and I’ll wait till I’m back in the UK in the summer to have another go at them. The only reason for moving to Mail is to make archiving easier … apart from that, GyazMail for me works really well, and exporting to Mboxes, doesn’t take that long.

Time for bed … 00:45 here!