Here Are the IMAP Settings You Need to Set Up Gmail

Use these settings to view Gmail messages in an external email client

If you want to receive Gmail through a separate email client, set up your Gmail account in another email client to get all your mail in one place. You'll need to provide the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) settings so that the email client knows how to retrieve your Gmail messages.

What Is IMAP for Gmail?

IMAP is an internet protocol that allows email clients to communicate with an email service, such as Gmail. IMAP is a replacement for the older POP3 email protocol. IMAP offers many advantages, including the ability to keep the status of emails in sync, access multiple mailboxes on a single server, and allow for server-side searching of content.

With IMAP, you can read your Gmail on multiple devices, and messages and folders are synced in real-time.

For the Gmail IMAP settings to work in your email client, IMAP access must be enabled in Gmail online. 

How to Activate IMAP in Gmail

To access a Gmail account in your email program or mobile device via the IMAP protocol, activate IMAP in Gmail.

  1. Open Gmail in a web browser.

  2. Select the Settings gear in the upper-right corner.

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  3. Select See all settings.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  4. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

    Gmail settings with the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab highlighted
  5. In the IMAP access section, select Enable IMAP.

    The Enable IMAP option
  6. Leave the other settings on the default selections.

  7. Select Save Changes.

Set up Gmail With IMAP

After IMAP is enabled in Gmail, set up a new IMAP account in your email client of choice. If the email client is listed below, select the link to learn how to set up Gmail on your device quickly. Otherwise, follow the generic instructions for setting up Gmail with IMAP manually.

Gmail IMAP Settings for Incoming Mail

To receive your Gmail messages on other devices, enter the following settings according to the directions for the specific application:

The Gmail IMAP settings in a mail client on Mac

Gmail SMTP Settings for Outgoing Mail

While setting up your client to receive Gmail messages, provide settings to allow it to send messages. Messages are sent using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) settings. You'll also need these SMTP settings to access Gmail with another mail client: 

  • Gmail SMTP server address:
  • Gmail SMTP username: Your full Gmail address (for example,
  • Gmail SMTP password: Your Gmail password
  • Gmail SMTP port (TLS): 587
  • Gmail SMTP port (SSL): 465
  • Gmail SMTP TLS/SSL required: yes

Either TLS or SSL can be used, depending on your email client. Check the documentation for the email client to determine which one is appropriate.


If you encounter problems when setting up Gmail with a mail client, consider these possible issues:

  • The username or password is mistyped.
  • The server information is mistyped.
  • Two-factor authentification is enabled on your Google account that requires you to generate an app-specific password.
  • IMAP is not enabled in the Gmail settings.
  • The email client is not secure and doesn't support Google's latest security standards.

Unsecure Email Clients and Gmail

Gmail, by default, requires email clients that connect to its servers to meet specific security standards. If an email client is outdated, Gmail may not allow it to connect without first altering your account settings.

If you use a Gmail business account, you cannot alter the security settings. Contact your network administrator or IT department for more information.

It is highly recommended that you upgrade to a secure email client rather than allow unsecured clients to connect. And, although it's not recommended, you can turn on access to less secure apps through Google.

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