Get Emails in All Programs With Gmail's 'Recent' Mode

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It's great how Outlook downloads messages from your Gmail account every 15 minutes. It's great how iPhone Mail downloads messages from your Gmail account every 15 minutes.

What's not so great is them competing for new mail. Whichever checks first after a new email has arrived fetches it and hides it from all programs and devices that check the same Gmail account later.

Of course, you could forward messages, perhaps turn off and re-enable Gmail POP access strategically, or set up your own IMAP server. For typically very practical a solution, all you have to do is tweak your username. 

Gmail "Recent" Mode Thumps the Competition

With "recent" mode enabled in your email program or mobile device, Gmail will send it the last 30 days' mail, even if it has already been downloaded elsewhere.

It's easy to turn Gmail "recent" mode on, and you should be able to do it on every device and computer and client that connects to your Gmail account. If you do, you can have all your mail everywhere provided your devices check for mail at least every 30 days.

Get All Your Gmail Mail in All Programs and Devices

To use Gmail's "recent" mode and fetch all mail to a mobile device or program even if you have already downloaded it elsewhere:

  • Open your Gmail account's settings in the email program or mobile application.
  • Precede your username with "recent:"
  • If your username was "", make it "", for example.


"Recent" mode works with Gmail accounts that have had messages downloaded (and thus, removed from the Google servers) through POP. However, the IMAP protocol — which Gmail natively supports — keeps the messages on the server. If you use several devices, you may find it better to use IMAP instead of POP to avoid the problem of messages routing to different devices.