How to Enable Gmail via IMAP in Your Email Program

What Is IMAP for Gmail?

You can set up your Gmail account with IMAP to access your email from a variety of email applications, such as those used on iOS devices, Android devices, and personal computers. 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 and 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.

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 gear icon at the top right.
  3. Select Settings.

Settings menu item in Gmail4. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

5. In the IMAPaccess section, select EnableIMAP

Enable IMAP radio button in Gmail settings6. Leave the other settings on the default selections.

7. Select Save Changes.

How to 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, click on it to learn how to set up Gmail on your device quickly. Otherwise, follow the generic instructions for setting up Gmail with IMAP manually.

Manually Set up Gmail With IMAP

If your email program is not listed above, open your application of choice and go to the screen where additional accounts are added. If the application gives you the option to select Gmail, follow the automatic setup process.

To find instructions on how to set up an email client correctly, perform a Google search with the name of the email client plus the phrase Gmail IMAP. For example, search for Mozilla Thunderbird Gmail IMAP if you use the Thunderbird email client.

Otherwise, if the email client does not present Gmail as a default option, you may be prompted to enter the server information manually. For Gmail, use the following information:


  • IMAP Server:
  • Port: 993
  • Require SSL: Yes
  • Username: Your Gmail email address
  • Password: Your Gmail email password


  • SMTP Server:
  • Port: 465
  • Require SSL/STARTTLS: Yes
  • Require SMTP authentication: Yes
  • Username: Your Gmail email address
  • Password: Your Gmail email password

If the email program does not support IMAP or if you prefer only to download newly arriving messages to your computer, Gmail also offers POP access for email clients.


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.
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