How to Use Gmail on a Mac

It's easy to configure the Mail app to access Gmail

What to Know

  • Open the Mail app and go to Mail > Add Account. Select Google > Continue, then click Open Browser for Google authentication.
  • Next, enter your Gmail address and password, then click Allow to grant Google permissions. Select the apps to sync, then click Done.
  • Other ways to access Gmail on a Mac include free email clients or going to to send and receive messages via a browser.

This article explains how to use Gmail on a Mac by syncing Gmail to the Apple Mail application. Information in this article applies to Macs running macOS Big Sur (11) through Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10)

How to Use Gmail on a Mac

The Mail app in macOS is like most other email clients, letting you add email accounts from your favorite email provider so that you can send and receive email messages with ease. This means you can access your Gmail account through Mail.

When you use Gmail on your Mac, you can configure whether you access your online account through IMAP or POP, although Apple recommends using IMAP.

Here's how to access IMAP-configured Gmail on a Mac by adding your account to the Mail app.

  1. Open the Mail application on the Mac. In the Mail menu, choose Add Account from the options.

    Add Account option under the Mail menu
  2. In the Choose a Mail account provider screen, select Google and click Continue.

    Google option in Add Account for Mail
  3. Select Open Browser to allow Google to complete authentication.

    Open Browser highlighted in Google authentication box
  4. Type your Gmail email address and click Next.

    Gmail login screen with Gmail address and Next highlighted
  5. Type your password and click Next.

    Gmail sign-in screen with password and Next highlighted
  6. If you enabled two-step authentication, enter the code received by SMS or generated in an authentication app, and then click Next.

  7. Google lists the permissions you are granting macOS. Review them and then click Allow at the bottom of the screen.

    macOS permissions with Allow highlighted

    Click the i icon next to each item for more information.

  8. A list of apps appears. Click the check box next to each app you want to sync, then click Done. Along with your mail, you can opt to sync your Contacts, Calendars, and Notes from Gmail.

    Options to sync with macOS in Gmail highlighted, and Done highlighted
  9. The address you added will now appear in the Mailboxes section of the Mail sidebar.

If Gmail doesn't work on your Mac after setting up the account, and you enabled IMAP access, you might need to modify the email server settings in Mail. Using IMAP with Gmail requires IMAP server settings. To use Gmail via POP requires that you enable POP through your Gmail account. If you do that, you might also need to enter the Gmail POP server settings in Mail.

Other Ways to Access Gmail

Mail isn't the only program that can access Gmail on a Mac. You can also use free email clients for Mac to download and send emails through your Gmail account. However, the setup instructions for those email clients are not the same as the steps above. They are similar and require the same IMAP and POP server information linked above.

Another way to get to Gmail on your Mac is to access When you send and receive Gmail messages through a browser via that URL, you don't need to worry about email server settings or downloading anything. It works in Safari and other web browsers you might use.

Was this page helpful?