Mail not working well with Gmail


(Simon) #1

Interesting you mention that. While my gmail account works well (from what I can tell) with Mail on my iPhone, my Mac’s Mail has issues. It will often show two copies of the same email, and don’t even get me started on the “All Mail” folder the gmail account shows in Mail. It’s a mess.

If it were just my private email, I’d leave Google and get something serious. But unfortunately, my employer has chosen it for our entire facility. I guess things could be worse though, we got rid of Outlook after all. :wink:


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(Joseph) #2

Yes, for me it ultimately fails for both, but I can use Kiwi and change my default mail app on the Mac, so it’s not a big deal there.


(Will M) #3

I don’t remember details, but many of my difficulties with Gmail were mitigated by information I gleaned from Achieving Email Bliss…. Of course, the fact that that article was necessary emphasizes that Google has its own vision for how email should work (and that vision differs from mine).


(Paul Chernoff) #4

Gmail is based on tagging, IMAP is based on organizing mail into folders. Tagging can be much more powerful but I know very few people who use its power and only apply one tag per email. If you apply multiple tags to an e-mail than IMAP isn’t happy.

The advice I’ve read is to either access Gmail all of the via the web interface OR all of the time via a mail application.


(Simon) #5

I never access it via web. It’s always either Mail on macOS or on iOS. I don’t use tagging, I rely on folders just the way the IMAP protocol is intended. I realize Google might have their own ideas, but IMHO if they want to talk IMAP they should make sure it works over IMAP.

Now if this were just a free email service for private use that would be one thing, but in my case Google is selling a commercial grade product to a large public university who has acquired it with the purpose of deploying it in a “corporate setting”, i.e. with thousands of email clients on various platforms where the only common denominator is IMAP. It’s unrealistic to expect everybody in such a setting to rely on web browser interfaces. But I’ll admit, maybe the problem lies with my organization (or with Apple’s IMAP implementation?) rather than with Google. I cannot judge that.


(Simon) #6

That’s an excellent article. And indeed my understanding is things used to be much worse. But the article is 2009 and today’s issues are indeed different (at least in my personal experience).


(Paul Chernoff) #7

When you put e-mail into folders in Mail or any IMAP mail program, you are actually tagging the e-mails. Google takes the folders and converts them into tags. But if you never use the web interface this should not create a problem for you.

But Google tends to live in its own world. While they make nice iOS apps, I consider them to be aimed at an all Google world where everyone uses Android phones and Chromebooks. I get annoyed a few times a week at Google stuff, wondering why it won’t play nicer with others.


(Adam Engst) #8

FWIW, I’ve been playing with Spark and Astro recently, and both seem to work decently with Gmail.


(gastropod) #9

Simon wrote: “Now if this were just a free email service for private use that would be one thing, but in my case Google is selling a commercial grade product to a large public university who has acquired it with the purpose of deploying it in a “corporate setting””

We’re now stuck with choosing between G Suite and Exchange; our real imap server turns into a pumpkin soon. Either is a poor choice on a number of grounds, but given that Exchange has actual delivering the mail trouble several times a year that can last for days, G Suite is probably the least bad option. At least gmail keeps their servers going.

One of the more important settings is whether the All Mail label is shown to imap. By default it is, and it confuses Mail badly because Mail sees them as duplicates (which they are), and Mail hates duplicates. You can turn All Mail off in the gmail web settings - Labels tab, find All, and uncheck it for the imap column. While there it’s probably worth while looking at the others to make sure that all of the ones you want are actually being served out.

The other gmail annoyance is that Mail.app saves frequently while composing. It deletes older versions promptly so they don’t pile up on most servers. But Google doesn’t often honor the deletes, so if you keep your Drafts folder on the gmail server, you can end up with thousands of saved versions in short order. If you don’t keep it on the server, you don’t have access to partly written messages. So that setting depends on your preferred balance between your usage and your irritation level.

Other than those, there haven’t been too many complaints here. (But I’m staying off of it until the final hour anyway…)


(Josh Centers) #10

Yes, this is the best approach. Standard IMAP in Mail is good, Gmail on the Web is good, Gmail over IMAP is horrible. If you really want a native Mac Gmail client, keep your eyes peeled for our review of the latest version of MailPlane, due any day now.


(Simon) #11

That’s great advice. Strange thing is though, while that works on macOS Mail, iOS Mail will continue to show that folder regardless of what you set in gmail settings. :confused:


(gastropod) #12

Simon wrote: “iOS Mail will continue to show that folder regardless of what you
set in gmail settings.”

How did you set it up in iOS Mail? If you used the Gmail service option, you’ll probably have trouble. Especially with G Suite, you should use ‘Other’ (in tiny print at the bottom of the list) so you can set imap explicitly and put in your university settings, which depending on what authentication mishmash is being used can potentially be too convoluted for the simple settings to cope with. ‘Other’ reduces the number of dumb assumptions that Mail makes, so I never use anything else even on a Mac.


(Simon) #13

The plot thickens. :smiley:

iOS Mail will continue to show an “All Mail” folder. But the kicker is it’s not actually gmail’s All Mail folder. Turns out it’s actually the Archive folder. I have no idea why iOS Mail would attempt to confound those two as they are rather different. The only reason I noticed was that the folder labeled Archive on iOS Mail disappeared once gmail is set to not display the All Mail folder. The icon it used is however the same used for the All Mail folder in Mail which was a first clue.

gastropod, unfortunately I have no idea how I initially set it up. This was many years ago when our entire campus was switched to Google.

And Adam, many thanks for the split. Didn’t intend to entirely derail your thread. :slight_smile:


(Joseph) #14

I think I may have mentioned this in another thread where somebody else was having problems, but my issue with using Mail.app on Mac and iOS with gmail is that messages randomly disappear with no way to get them back, even if you have the “All Mail” folder enabled.

I’ve never had this problem when simply using gmail on the web (or in Kiwi).