Mar 01


Despite their differences, Apple and Google do work well together when it comes to email.  Gmail is free and it has great spam protection. But the Gmail web interface is a bit clunky. Apple mail is very nice to use and you can set it to use a Gmail account. Here’s how to use Gmail from Apple’s mail app and also how to set up Gmail on your iPhone or iPad.

1. Sign up for Gmail.

(If you already have a Google Gmail account you can skip this step – but you will need to know your and it’s password)

– Go to and click on “Sign Up”

– Fill in the details – you’ll need to pick a gmail email address ( and a password. (Write them down!)

– When you have finished you should get a verification page that says this at the bottom:

Gmail signup complete

Now it’s time to set up the Apple mail application on your computer.


2. Enter your Gmail details into Apple mail on your iMac, Mac Mini or Macbook.


– Open Apple mail, and go to the “Mail’ menubar at the top of the screen and  then select  ‘Preferences’  from the menu.

Select preferences from the mail menu




– Select the ‘Accounts’ tab. From here  you can manage your mail accounts.

Accounts tab



– Press the ‘+’ button – this means add a new account.

Add a new account


–  You will be prompted for some details:

Enter your Gmail settings into Apple  mail

  • Where it says ‘full name’  enter your name,  this is not important but it will appear in the ‘ from’  field and can be anything.
  • Where it says ’email address’   put in your Gmail email address from step 1 above including the at the end.
  • Where it says ‘password’ enter your Gmail password from step 1 above.


It will then verify that the email address and password are correct and then display a confirmation screen. It should say that the Account type is “Gmail IMAP” as follows:

Gmail confirmation screen

– Press ‘Create’

– You will be taken back to the Apple Mail preferences screen. There are some settings you should change here.

1. Click on the mailbox behaviours tab

Mailbox behaviours tab


You pretty much need to set them to the opposite of the Apple default. Tick the ‘Junk’ and un-tick everything else like this:

Mailbox behaviour settings



You don’t want to tick “Drafts.”  Every few minutes Apple mail makes a backup copy of your email as you are typing it. If  you select this option all these draft emails get stored in your gmail Drafts folder and you end up with lots of clutter!

You don’t want to tick “Sent”  because Gmail automatically keeps a copy of your sent messages and puts them in its ‘send mail folder’ so Apple mail does not need to.  You only need this option checked if your email provider doesn’t keep a copy of your sent emails automatically.

The “Trash” option is  for email providers who don’t keep a copy of all your deleted emails. If checked it will save all your deleted items to a trash folder incase you want to undo the delete. Gmail automatically keeps a copy of every email that you delete so you don’t need to do this.

You  want the “junk”  option ticked  because Gmail automatically takes care of junk mail –  you don’t want the Apple mail program deleting it.


– That’s it.

– You can close the preferences window. (Click save if it prompts you to save the new settings).

– There should be some welcome messages from Gmail waiting for you in your Apple mail.



On the left-hand side of your mail app there should be a little folder called [Gmail]  that looks like this:

Gmail folders


The All Mail  folder contains every mail you have sent or received and even the emails you have deleted.  This is where you go if you want to find an old email that you have deleted.

The drafts folder will be empty all the time because you are not storing your draft emails on the gmail server.

Sent mail will contain all the emails you have sent.

Trash will be empty. All your deleted emails are kept in the All Mail folder –  you don’t need another copy in the trash.


– You can repeat all these instructions  to add more accounts to your Apple mail.

– If you want to set up your Gmail account on an iPhone or iPad read on.


3. Enter your Gmail details into your iPhone or iPad.


– Go to Settings, then “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”

– Select the ‘Add Account’ option.




– Select ‘Gmail’



– Enter your Gmail settings from Step 1 above. The ‘description’ can be any description to help you remember what the account is,  eg ‘My personal gmail account’



That’s it!

You can now access and edit your emails from your Computer and your iOS device.






110 Responses to “How to set up Apple mail to work with a Gmail account.”

  1. Daniele says:

    And many thanks for the great tutorial. I have a few questions if do not mind. As to this please note that I am using Mail 8 under Yosemite.

    1. Is there the possibility to have one folder with just the received or archived emails?
    2. I have tried to choose the folders to subscribe to but the system shows me just an empty list. To be honest the same is happening with the Yahoo account. What shall I do?
    3. is there a way to fully delete a message instead of leaving it among all mail?

    Thanks a lot for your time and attention, Daniele

  2. thank you! i just went through this, got stuck at some point but that was totally me trying to breeze through..
    the images are very helpfull

  3. Donna Wilson says:

    Hi. There are no problems with the mail account set-up, but I do have one problem I have not been able to figure out how to fix. When I forward an mail to people with PCs, it now shows up as an attachment. Not an issue when forwarding to Macs.

    The setting is not set up to send as an attachment, but I can’t figure out how to “fix” this bug. Your expertise is much appreciated; I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Namibia and there is ZERO Apple expertise here!

  4. Margaret Warren says:

    When I click on the “mail” icon, MAIL shows up at the top left of the window, but no window appears. It worked fine yesterday, but nothing happens today and it is very frustrating.

  5. Joseph says:

    I tried doing this, but I can’t get past the part where you enter your name, Gmail address, and password. I enter the info, click on “Set Up”, and it resets and the address/password fields are blank again. It’s an endless loop of fail. I’m using two-step verification, so I enter the password generated for the app, which should work just fine. I’m running 10.10.1, so I’m as current as can be. Does anyone have any ideas?

    • Nixie says:

      Were you able to figure this out? Mine keeps doing the same thing.

    • Kiah says:

      Hi, i was having the same problem and it was so frustrating but i figured it out! when you go to add an account, instead of choosing “gmail” click “add CalDAV account” instead and type the info. It worked for me! hope this helps.

  6. Elaine says:

    When I type in my name, email (gmail email),and password I keep getting the message “Logging in to the Google IMAP server “” failed. Make sure the user name and password you entered are correct, then click Continue. If the information isn’t correct, you cannot receive messages.” The use name and password are correct. HELP!!!

  7. Jim says:

    Getting ready to set up gmail on a new Mac Mini. One great gmail feature I am afraid will not work is the gmail tabs, which pulls “promotions” and social site messages into separate tabs, allowing more efficient review of our “primary” messages. Anyone know of a way to keep this on a Mac? (The Gmail app for iPad does include this feature but not sure ther is a similar app for regular Mac)

  8. Mary says:

    I accidently clicked on “rebuild” in mail and wiped all my my mail clean. I’m desperate to retrieve important messages. Can someone help this nong?

    • Wayne says:

      If you use gmail they will all still be on the gmail server if you use these suggested settings. So just wait and let them sync again. Otherwise give apple a ring and see if they can help you get them back from a time-machine backup.

  9. Beth says:

    Thanks so much for the helpful info. Just wondering if you may be able to help – I want to keep a copy of all my old mail on Apple Mail, then clear out all the clutter from my Gmail. Only problem is that they are synced so when I delete from Gmail it deletes from Apple too. Is there a way around this? So I can store all my old emails on Apple, and totally declutter my Gmail?

    • Wayne says:

      Copy the emails from gmail to the ‘On My Mac’ folder in the left folders pane in mail, this will make a local copy, then they will stay on your mac even if you delete from gmail.

  10. Brian says:

    What a clear and helpful instruction to put a gmail account site so that it is on my normal Mac Mail window. It all went so easily, as explained, but although I can send messages from it , it does not show any incoming mail. All incoming mail is visible only on the Google site. I really would like to see incoming mail on the Mac Mail window together with the other account boxes set up on the Mac using Virgin Media blueyonder. Have I failed to use an appropriate setting in the Behaviour window in the Preferences ? Or?

  11. John Rogers says:

    I have trphree g mails accounts and have set up new accounts they are all merged into one mailbox. Can I get too look like it does on my iPad with three mail addresses separate? Thanks.

  12. Sharon says:

    Hi, I just added gmail to my mac mail app. I now see all of my other non gmail accounts in gmail. How is gmail able to pull my other mail over? Is there a setting I can turn off or is this default? I definitely don’t want gmail to have any of my other mail. Now that they have been sucked in- can I delete them from gmail without affecting my email on my mac (any of my accounts)?

  13. Sharon says:


    I could see my gmail emails in Apple Mail as well, but to clarify, I mean logging in to gmail on a web browser and seeing all of my iCloud, Yahoo and other imap emails (accounts that I never added to gmail) inside of gmail. All of my non-gmail emails have landed inside of gmail in a folder called All Mail.

    I have disabled the new gmail account in Mac Mail to halt the pulling, but it does seem like there is some syncing still happening.

    I’d like to add gmail to my mac- but not if gmail is grabbing everything else.

  14. Sharon says:

    I entered all info but says cannot deliver because of outgoing setting of Tells me to select another server but their are none to select

  15. Kenneth says:

    I keep getting this error message after repeatedly dumping and then re-entering my Gmail info into an iBook:

    “The server for account “Gmail” returned the error “[WEBALERT Web login required..” Your username/password or security settings may be incorrect. Would you like to try re-entering your password?”

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  16. Megan says:

    Thanks for all this help…

    I have a problem with gmail and IMAP (via apple mail). I just moved to IMAP and now apple mail is storing all of my email drafts (i.e., the automatically-saved drafts, taken every 2 seconds). It was saving them under ‘Drafts’, so I did the following:

    (1) Under gmail Settings > Labels > Drafts, unchecked the ‘Show in IMAP’ box
    (2) In Apple Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviours, unchecked the ‘Store Draft Messages on the Server’ box.

    Now, these automatic drafts are no longer being saved in ‘Drafts’ – but ARE still there in ‘All Mail’.

    If I go back into my Gmail settings and uncheck the ‘All Mail’ box, will that solve the problem? And if so, what will the consequences be? I don’t want there to be any risk of my losing any of my other emails – does anything get saved in ‘All Mail’ that doesn’t get saved in any other folder?

    Or is there another solution? After spending literally hours on this problem, it seems like at least 100,000 people on one Apple thread have had the same issue. Desperate to get this solved! Thanks!!!

  17. Sue says:

    I set it up as you said – my only problem is that since switching over to Yosemite, gmail is coming to my computer (Mac Mail), but it is NOT staying in the gmail web account server like it used to.
    It is important that other people have access to those emails.
    I’ve checked the preferences and there is no setting to “leave on server” as there is w/my Optimum account.

    What setting am I not seeing to get the gmails to stay on Gmail?

  18. Liz says:

    Elaine says:
    December 26, 2014 at 5:53 pm
    When I type in my name, email (gmail email),and password I keep getting the message “Logging in to the Google IMAP server “” failed. Make sure the user name and password you entered are correct, then click Continue. If the information isn’t correct, you cannot receive messages.” The use name and password are correct. HELP!!!

  19. Rula says:

    When I Open Apple mail, and go to the “Mail’ menubar at the top of the screen and then I cannot select ‘Preferences’ from the menu, as it is off. Please for your kind help, HELP. Thank you!

  20. Chris says:

    On Mac Mail my Gmail account has been working well for years but suddenly the little number in a circle telling me that there are unread emails has stopped working. The unread emails are there when I click on inbox, so otherwise it’s working fine. I have other email addresses – Yahoo, BT and Hotmail and another Gmail address which all still work perfectly in this regard. Any ideas what I can do to restore normal service?

  21. tom patterson says:

    i did all the steps but mail is not coming threw to my mac so now whay

  22. Gaurav says:

    I have just bought this new macbook pro and 1 of my gmail accounts is synced and the other gmail is not getting synced. the error message is “network connection error” whereas internet connection is working.

  23. Kinza says:

    While using Google mail account on Apple Mail i am facing problems the mails i delete start showing back, but if i go to gmail web interface and then delete they never re appear.

    I have one apple mail account and one gmail account configured, apple mail account works smooth but gmail account gets stuck with an error of too many simultaneous connections while using on mac, but this error never appears on iphone and stuff. Can someone help with this slow and stucking google issue on apple mail

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