Set up a Gmail Account Using Mac's Mail Application

Access your Gmail account without using a browser

What to Know

  • Go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences > Internet Accounts > Google. Click Open Browser.
  • Enter your Gmail address and password. Select Mail to set up your Gmail account automatically in Mail.
  • You can also open Mail and select Mail > Add Account > Google to configure your Gmail account in Mail.

This article explains how to set up Gmail in the Mail application on a Mac. Information covers the Mail application in all macOS and OS X versions.

How to Set up Gmail in​ Newer macOS Versions

Setting up a Google account in newer operating systems (after OS X Mountain Lion and Lion) uses automatic configuration. Here's how it works.

  1. Select the Apple logo > System Preferences.

  2. Select Internet Accounts.

    System Preferences window in macOS
  3. In the Internet Accounts pane, you'll see email and social media account types that are Mac-compatible. Select Google.

    Internet Accounts system preferences screen in macOS
  4. Select Open Browser when prompted to authenticate your account.

    Internet Accounts drop-down screen for authorize Google account
  5. Enter your Google account name (email address) in the window that opens, and select Next.

    Google sign in screen in macOS
  6. Enter your Google account password, and then select Next or Set up (depending on your OS version).

    Google password screen in Mac Mail setup
  7. The drop-down panel changes to display a list of apps on your Mac that can make use of your Google account. Select Mail and any other apps, and then select Done.

    Select Google features to include in macOS
  8. Your Google email account is automatically set up in the Mail application.

    You can also access the Internet Accounts preference pane by launching the Mail application and selecting Mail > Add Account in the menu bar.

Setting up Gmail in OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion

Setting up Gmail in OS X Mountain Lion and OS X Lion differs slightly from later versions of the operating system.

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking on its Dock icon or by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

  2. Select the Mail, Contacts & Calendars preference pane.

  3. Select Gmail.

  4. Enter your Gmail email address and password, and then click Set Up.

  5. The drop-down window displays a list of apps on your Mac that can make use of your Gmail account. Place a check next to Mail and click Add Accounts.

If You Use Older Versions of OS X

If you use OS X Snow Leopard or older, set up Mail to access your Gmail account from within the Mail application instead of from System Preferences.

  1. Launch Mail and select Add Account to open the Add Account screen.

  2. Enter your Gmail email address and password. The Mail application recognizes the Gmail address and offers to set up the account automatically.

  3. Place a check in the Automatically set up the account box.

  4. Click the Create button.

Manually Set up Mail for a Gmail Account

Old versions of Mail (2.x and earlier) didn't have an automated method for setting up a Gmail account. You can still create a Gmail account in Mail, but you need to set up the account manually, just as you would any other IMAP-based email account. The settings and information you need are:

  • Account type: IMAP
  • Email address: [gmailusername]
  • Password: Your Gmail password
  • Username: Your Gmail address without the ""
  • Incoming Mail Server:
  • Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP):

After you enter this information, Mail can access your Gmail account.

How to Access Gmail in the Mail Application

After you set up your Gmail account, open the Mail application on your Mac. In the left column, under Inbox, you'll see your Gmail account listed along with Mail and any other mail accounts you've entered. Select your Gmail account to read and reply to your Gmail.

Gmail is not the only popular email account that you can use with Mail. You can use Yahoo and AOL mail accounts in Mail using the same method.

More on Setting up Gmail in Apple Mail

Users may use a Gmail account when they're on the road or accessing email from a web browser and use Apple's Mail application on their Mac computers. It's convenient to check all your email accounts in one place, so many people add their Gmail account to Mail.

Creating a Gmail account in Apple Mail is straightforward. Gmail uses standard mail protocols, and Apple Mail supports Gmail server communication. You can add a Gmail account the same way you'd add any POP or IMAP account you currently use. Most versions of macOS have an automated system that creates Gmail accounts for you.

You can create a Gmail account either directly in Mail or from System Preferences. The System Preferences option is a handy way to keep all your social media and email accounts together so you can easily make changes that are automatically reflected in any app that uses them. The two methods for setting up a Gmail account are nearly identical and end up creating the same data in both Mail and System Preferences. The Gmail account makes use of IMAP because Google recommends IMAP over POP.

If you would rather use Gmail's POP service, you can find the needed information in the Gmail POP3 Setting guide. You must also use the manual setup process.

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