IMAP, GMail and Thunderbird

After knowing IMAP is coming to GMail, I was impatiently checking my GMail page nearly every one or two hours during the past two days. Just before I lose the interest and get bored, it appeared, magically.

At once, I launched my favourite Thunderbird and set all things up. It went very smoothly, just by following the instructions given on GMail’s help page. As what IMAP protocol should bring us, the local version of the mail box is highly synchronized with the online version. All the folders are consistent and almost every single action inside Thunderbird will have correspondent effect to the remote mails. A concrete table of how the sync goes could be found here.

Since it’s synchronized, there is some settings should be taken care in order to adapt to GMail’s folder/label structure. That is, to use [Gmail]/Drafts and [Gmail]/Spam to store your drafts and junk mails, respectively. (like what is shown in the picture above).

To do this, first go to Account Settings and click Copies & folders. On the right side, in the Drafts and Templates section, click the radio button Other under Keep message drafts in: and navigate to [Gmail]/Drafts. (For the templates part, you can do it in your own way, I just prefer to store them locally)

For the spams, go to Junk Settings (on the left), select Move new junk messages to: and the following radio button Other:. Also, the same as what has done to the drafts, navigate to and select [Gmail]/Spam

Now, only one thing is bothering me: the Trash. I’ve not found a way to let Thunderbird use [Gmail]/Trash to store deleted mails. Therefore, as you can see, there are two Trashes in Thunderbird and a stupid [imap]/Trash label in GMail’s page. It would be perfect if this is solved. Well at present, when deleting mails, just have to remember to move them to [Gmail]/Trash instead of simply pressing the Delete key. See Update 2.

One more thing to notice, because GMail will automatically save your sent mail to [Gmail]/Sent Mail, there’s no need to save them again. So if you don’t de-select the option Place a copy in: in the Copies & Folders page, you may have an additional copy of those sent mails.

Update 1: Found a smart add-on for Thunderbird, which can display the current status of your IMAP quota in the statusbar and will also warn you when you reach a configurable limit. to download.Here

Update 2: There is already a very detailed post about how to turn Thunderbird into a Ultimate GMail IMAP client on Lifehacker. A reader commented to that post with a trick of getting rid of the ugly “[imap]/Trash” label. It’s really useful. Please refer to the links above for the detail, but after modifying the configuration, remember to remove the label from GMail and restart Thunderbird before you delete any mail, otherwise the deleted mails may go to neither of the two Trashes, just vanishing like falling into a black hole.

change Trash folder location in Thunderbird


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