Syncing an email account, including sent messages
February 10, 2014 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to set up a Google Apps email account so that you can check it from both the gmail website and client side mail apps and have everything sync and thread correctly? Particularly the sent messages?

To be more specific, this is a friend with a small business whose main email address is, and she and her remote colleague both have to monitor this account. Let's call them A and B.

I've tried to get them both to use only the gmail website for all email activity, but my friend (A) refuses to completely give up her Mail app on various Macs, at least two at work and one at home. She particularly refuses to use the website for sending messages.

You can imagine the problem: a new client inquiry comes in, A responds from her Mail app on her computer, then B (who only uses the gmail website) sees the inquiry but has no way to see whether A has already replied to it.

Is there an IMAP or POP3 configuration that will sync everything back to the server as if it was all done on the gmail website to begin with, from multiple mail clients on multiple computers? (All macs though.)
posted by pete_22 to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Is is putting a copy of sent messages in Gmail's "Sent Mail" folder? That should be all you need to do for IMAP to work right for your needs. (You don't want to use POP3 for this situation.)
posted by stopgap at 6:24 AM on February 10, 2014

Yeah. Any IMAP client will do this with ease.
posted by turkeyphant at 6:42 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I do this exact thing with multiple computers and iOS devices using IMAP. It is easy to configure and fool-proof.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:46 AM on February 10, 2014

Hmm sorry if this was a dumb question. When I looked at her Apple Mail settings it did not seem that simple. But I'll check again.
posted by pete_22 at 7:28 AM on February 10, 2014

If you are still having problems with it I can check my Mail settings when I get home, but I think this page is what I used to get it all working together.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:52 AM on February 10, 2014

IMAP is supposed to do all this automatically—the whole point of IMAP is that everything is in sync everywhere. POP will not do this.

The combination of under Mavericks, IMAP, and Gmail is known to be hinky. Apple hasn't quite gotten it worked out yet.
posted by adamrice at 7:53 AM on February 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

The combination of under Mavericks, IMAP, and Gmail is known to be hinky. Apple hasn't quite gotten it worked out yet.

Apparently Gmail doesn't exactly use IMAP, per se, but rather something IMAP-like.
posted by slkinsey at 8:36 AM on February 10, 2014

The best thing about this, and the reason I still use Mail rather than fastmail's otherwise stellar Web app, is that you can command-click on Inbox and Sent to see both sides of your correspondences all threaded together.
posted by nicwolff at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2014

On iOS and Mail I have my Gmail set with "[Gmail]" as the IMAP prefix in Preferences -> Advanced. This means all folders I create in the app are at the same level as the Inbox. Pretty sure if you don't do this, folders are all listed as subfolders of Inbox. Can't remember if special folders (Drafts, etc.) are subfoldered or not.
That is, with this change, folder structure is:
instead of
Downside of this is that on Gmail, all folders will be tagged as [Gmail]/FolderName rather than just FolderName. But on the mail client app end it looks nicer, to me.

Other than that, you need to make sure special folders like Drafts and Sent are using the designated folders on Gmail server. Select the right folder, then in menu bar select Mailbox -> Use This Mailbox For -> Drafts/Sent/Junk/Trash etc. to set the folder to the Gmail defaults. Ensure in account preferences that "Store Drafts/Junk/Sent/Trash On Server" options are checked.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:19 AM on February 10, 2014

My business email is set up using google apps such that 2 of us log in as ourselves, but also send and receive messages as a third, general account. I think that's why the sent messages do not end up in the conversation view for us. So, when you say monitor accounts, is that what you mean? Or are they actually logging in to the account they are supposed to be monitoring? If they are actually logging in to the account, I agree that this should already be happening if using imap, unless there is some change of folder names, like caution live frogs suggests.

What we do in this situation at my work is always CC ourselves so that we know that the items were responded to.
posted by freezer cake at 4:44 PM on February 10, 2014

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