How to Make Gmail IMAP Faster with Less Email Traffic

It's like an X-PRESS truck for your Gmail IMAP folders. StockUnlimited

You can limit the number of messages served for Gmail IMAP to make access faster.

Gmail IMAP Is Amazing… and Amazingly Slow?

Gmail in a desktop email program is fantastic. You get to see all labels and mail and can search the archives, too—once the email client has downloaded all the ten GB of mail and then some in the "All Mail" folder, not to forget the duplicates in all the labels' folders.

Wish you could get the newest mail, move and label messages, see all folders and still not have to deal with hundreds of thousands of emails on the desktop when the Gmail archive is but a browser tab away?

Gmail does offer a way to limit the number of messages it shows to your email program in each folder. This can make synchronizing faster and your desktop email leaner while all the latest mail is still available.

Make Gmail IMAP Faster with Less Email Traffic

To limit the number of messages visible per folder in Gmail IMAP so your email program has less to download, cache and keep in sync:

  • Click the Settings gear icon () near your Gmail's top right corner.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  • Make sure Limit IMAP folders to contain no more than this many messages is selected under Folder Size Limits.
  • Pick a desired number of messages to show in email programs; Gmail will pick the most recent 1000, 5000 or 10,000 messages, for example.
  • Click Save Changes.

You can also pick the labels and folders your email program sees.

(Updated April 2016, tested with Gmail in a desktop browser)