All About How to Make Mail and Gmail Play Nice

Martin Wilson

Jun 27, 2022

With Apple's new Mail app, you can manage your emails better than ever. But how can you mix the two so that you get the best of both worlds from Google's web-based Gmail? Follow our article about how to make Mail and Gmail play nice, which explains how to optimize Mail and OS X to perform optimally with Gmail's manner of doing things.

Step 1: Enable IMAP

You must first allow IMAP access for OS X's Mail to operate with Gmail. This will allow Mail to check your Gmail messages and ensure that everything on your devices and the Web remains in sync with one another.

When using a desktop Web browser, log in to your Gmail account, and then click the gear icon on the right side of the screen, just below the avatar that represents your Google Account. Select Settings from the pop-up menu that displays. Forwarding and POP/IMAP may be found under the tabs. Select Enable IMAP in the IMAP Access area about halfway down the screen. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Step 2: Modify Labels in Gmail

The Web version of Gmail has a few unique capabilities that standard email applications, like Mail, don't provide. Gmail labels are the best illustration of this. Regarding email, Gmail enables you to tag messages with numerous phrases or labels, much like you can with photographs on Flickr.

Ensure you're in Gmail's settings, and then choose the Labels tab. Here, you may hide labels from programmes that can't handle them, such as Apple's iCloud-based mail software on your Mac or iPhone or iPad. "Chats" and "Important" are two labels that should not be shown in IMAP. Therefore make sure the Show in IMAP tick is disabled on the Labels tab. If you haven't already done so, make sure that All Mail is enabled.

If you have the All-Mail option set, Mail will save several copies of each letter you have categorized. The duplicates are now hidden, so you won't have to deal with them, but they still use up disc space. This was unavoidably a necessary trade-off to confirm Mail's functionality to that of Gmail.

Step 3: Sign into OS X With Your Google Account

By choosing Mail >''' Preferences >''' Accounts, you could previously add a Gmail account on a previous version of OS X. You may still do this if you wish. Still, OS X now has a better understanding of your Google Account and that it encompasses more than just Gmail. Add your Google account by clicking the + button in the bottom left corner and selecting Gmail from the list of new accounts on the right. The following applies to you if you're using a standard account with @gmail or Google Apps to operate your Gmail via your domain.

After verifying your Google account with Google's servers, OS X will provide you with a list of all the applications that are compatible with your account. Email, Calendar, Messages, and Notes are all included at the time of this writing. By default, everything is selected, but you may turn everything off if you choose.

Step 4: Set up Mail

Gmail integration in Mail has improved thanks to Apple, but there are a few hiccups to be aware of.

Deal with email archiving issues: Because Gmail has an absurd amount of storage space, Google has configured the service to encourage users to archive their emails rather than have to delete them selectively. After all, you can't predict when the next time you'll need an umbrella, whether it'll be next month or in another four years, and there's no need to delete those short emails in this day and age of ever-increasing storage capacity.

You may have noticed that the menu for Mail in OS X 10.7 and 10.8 has a new option labelled Message >''' Archive. You may also use the View menu to customize the toolbars of Mail's main window and individual message reader windows, allowing you to add the Archive button to those toolbars. Despite several bug complaints to Apple over the last two years, that button still does not operate correctly with Gmail.

After you press the button, it will create a new folder at the top level and give it the name Archive. This folder will allow you to store messages that you no longer need in your Inbox but that you would like to be able to look for later. Messages archived via Mail will not be kept in the location that Gmail recognizes, as it does on the Web when messages are moved to All Mail.


It's not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you may wish to change any of the above settings or manage them differently based on your preferences. However, this is the method we have discovered to be the most effective for you to use Gmail in your local mail clients without losing access to any of the sophisticated capabilities of Gmail, such as archiving.

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