How can I get Mail and Gmail working for me?
February 14, 2009 5:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm using Gmail with IMAP, and (and an iPhone, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't matter for these purposes). How can I erase the old messages in the "Sent" folder on my desktop app without erasing them on Gmail?

OK. Just thinking about this makes my head hurt. I apologize in advance if I have left out some crucial piece of information.

For years, I was very happy using POP. Then I got an iPhone and decided to switch to IMAP. I have everything almost to where I want it, with one glaring exception: the 10,000 messages in my "Sent" folder in

Here was my POP-era behavior: Send a message, remove it from the "Sent" folder and put it in the "Family 2009" folder or what have you. Incoming emails from family also went there. That way, the folder Family 2009 contained all family emails both ingoing and outgoing. Sometimes, a few messages would accumulate in the "Sent" folder until I filed them. All was well.

Now, I have those same folders on my desktop app and would like to maintain the same behavior. . . except that "Sent" now mirrors what is on Gmail itself, which is to say it contains 10,000+ messages — every message since I started using Gmail. The thing is, I already have those messages filed away in their respective folders. And, while I could just erase them, I do not wish to also erase them from Gmail itself at the same time, because I like the idea that Gmail has every message incoming and outgoing archived.

I want to get rid of that enormous Sent folder on while still having those messages on Gmail itself, and then I want all future sent messages to stay in the "Sent" mailbox in until I file them, at which time Gmail would archive them.

God only knows if this makes any sense to anybody. It's been an authentic odyssey even getting this much working. I apologize in advance if my explanation is less than clear and I am happy to answer questions.
posted by veggieboy to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Is there a setting in that saves a copy of sent messages to a folder? If so, you should set it up to do that. Then you could change your IMAP settings so that it does not sync your Sent Mail between Gmail and (you can either do this in Gmail's IMAP settings or in, I imagine).
posted by roomwithaview at 5:55 PM on February 14, 2009

Best answer: You could try creating a tag in Gmail called "Sent Mail" and then using that tag for Sent in Create the tag, and then once it show up under [Gmail], select it, and then go to Mailbox > Use this Mailbox For > Sent Mail.

Good information here, too.
posted by trotter at 5:59 PM on February 14, 2009

Response by poster: trotter, that might be the ticket. I've just now done that.

I also created a label called "Garbage" and then mapped that to Mail's Trash can, so that deleting something on Mail just means that it doesn't get stored forever on my computer, but is still on Gmail's servers. (That had been a problem, too.)

And, yeah, that link was what got me started on this whole path. Hopefully this will do the trick. I'll have to live with it for a few days and see if everything behaves as expected. But I'm optimistic. Thank you.
posted by veggieboy at 7:42 PM on February 14, 2009

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