Ask: Using Apple Mail with Gmail

Got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question? We have the answer.

Got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question? We have the answer. In this week's installment of Ask, we'll provide some tips for getting Apple's Mail app to sync better with Gmail.

Question

Since Mavericks appeared, the new OS seems to have turned Apple Mail into a piece of junk for those of us who use IMAP versions of Gmail. Now it can take 10 minutes for Apple Mail to sync with Gmail. Apple’s updates don’t seem to have helped much. It’s sent me and others searching for Apple Mail alternatives. How about some external wisdom?

Answer

Integrating Gmail accounts with most mail clients has long proven difficult, but Apple Mail seems to have special difficulties with the IMAP version of Gmail. Fortunately, there are some troubleshooting steps that we can go through to hopefully solve this particular issue.

For issues with syncing, it can be helpful to change a particular setting in Mail that controls when Mail checks for new messages. This is something that has worked for many people:

01. Open Mail > Preferences.

02. Select the General tab.

03. Under the drop-down menu for “Check for new messages” select a time period to check (for example, every three minutes) instead the of “Automatic” setting.

04. Quit and relaunch the Mail application.

Another tip that has helped others is to periodically quit Apple Mail, then launch it again. Many people have noted their mail messages immediately appear after the relaunch of the application. If you’re still having issues and a restart won’t help, then try clicking Mailbox > Take All Accounts Offline, then click Mailbox > Take All Accounts Online to “refresh” your mail.

Ask is written by Cory Bohon, a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer.

Got a tech question? Email ask@maclife.com.