How to Setup Gmail Over IMAP to Play Nice Within Mac OS X Mail

So, you want to use Mac OS X Mail with Gmail? While Snow Leopard makes the default setup very easy, there are some rough edges of Google’s somewhat-wonky IMAP setup that need to be smoothed off for a better experience. Like that pesky [Gmail] thing, or the fact you can end up with 17 “Deleted Messages” folders for no apparent reason.

I’ve written out the steps to reach “Gmail IMAP in Mac OS X Mail” nirvana. While that doesn’t roll off the tongue, it does soothe the soul of the Gmail-using Mac lover.

Download my helpful PDF here, and if you find any bugs in it, please let me know.

Please note this was written using Gmail in Fall 2010 and with a Mac running 10.6 Snow Leopard. Mail in older versions of OS X should behave the same way, however.

Stephen Hackett, formerly a Lead Mac Genius at Apple, now spends his days running the IT department of a large non-profit in Memphis, TN. He writes about Apple, design and journalism at Like all twenty-somethings, you can find him… Full Bio