Instant Email Updates with IMAP IDLE in Mac OS X Mail

With IMAP accounts, Mac OS X Mail can use the IDLE command (provided the account supports it). Instead of polling the server for new mail periodically, Mac OS X Mail just waits for incoming messages—which are sent automatically and pop up just about instantly.

Get Instant Email Updates with IMAP IDLE in Mac OS X Mail

To have emails appear instantly in IMAP accounts in Mac OS X Mail:

  • Select Mail | Preferences... from the menu.
  • Choose Accounts.
  • Select the desired IMAP account.
  • Go to the Advanced tab.
  • Make sure Use IDLE command if the server supports it is checked.
    • You can additionally uncheck Include when automatically checking for new mail. Keep in mind that Mac OS X Mail receives instant updates only for the open folder, though.
  • Close the preferences window.

In Mac OS X Mail 2, you can use the IMAP IDLE add-on.