How to set up Apple mail to work with a Gmail account. (This is the original article from 2013)


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.

There is a newer article about this topic here (2018) but I have kept this older article (2013)  for those who have an older version of OS X or an older version of Apple Mail.

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.


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166 responses to “How to set up Apple mail to work with a Gmail account. (This is the original article from 2013)”

  1. John Rogers

    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.

  2. Sharon

    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)?

    1. No that’s not right. Are you sure they are in gmail and not just in Apple Mail?

  3. Sharon


    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.

  4. Sharon

    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

  5. Kenneth

    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.

  6. Megan

    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!!!

  7. Sue

    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?

  8. Liz

    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!!!

    1. Rochelle

      Did you get any joy with this? I’m having the same issue.

  9. Rula

    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!

  10. Chris

    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?

  11. tom patterson

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

  12. Gaurav

    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.

  13. Kinza

    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

  14. Alex

    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!!!

  15. Miriam Linder

    Just followed above instructions as best I could to set up gmail on Apple mail. One problem: rather than show my account name on the sidebar it reads “Google.” Can I fix this?

    1. Miriam Linder

      I think I got it!

    2. Go to mail:preferences and change the ‘Description’.

  16. Derwin A.

    I am trying to correct my send alias. We are using google mail for security purposes but want emails to get sent from an alias. They are routed from the alias and are coming into the gmail account which is also an alias. How do I change things so that when I reply people see my email address and not the gmail account?

    I hope this all makes sense.

  17. Romo7

    this method didn’t work either,for setting up a gmail account on my mac…..matter of fact i have 3 different gmails account and none would set up on my macbook pro…yahoo worked fine outlook worked fine too…and thats a microsoft accout there bitter rivals one might say,LOL>>>>>but no luck with gmail….but my gmail works for my apple account..u would think it would work for Mail too right???,,

  18. Jo

    Great instruction. Wirked on my macbook but not my Mac PC. After entering my account details I receive this message, Strange because I have another gmail address set up in mac Mail no problem. Any ideas? “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.”

    1. Heb

      I got exactly the same message, no idea how to dix

      1. James

        Same problem here

      2. Anyone have an answer for this? I’ve not had this problem so it’s hard to find a solution! Try deleting all accounts from mail (you will lose saved messages) then enabling them again. Try deleting the account from System Preferences ‘Internet Accounts’.
        Under Mail, Preferences, Accounts, Advanced check that ports 993, and Use SSL is checked.
        Under Mail, Preferences, Accounts, ‘Account Information’, ‘outgoing SMTP server’, ‘Edit SMTP Server list’ check that Port is 465 and SSL is checked. And please let us know if that works!

  19. After trying to add my 2 gmail accounts to I only received the message “you are already signed into that account”. I found a solution when I went to System Preferences>Internet Accounts and there I checked Mail under the accounts.
    Maybe this helps someone

  20. Jack

    I deleted and added some accounts on Gmail, however these have not updated on – can anyone advise me on how to do this?

    1. You need to manually put the new accounts into the Apple mail app. You will need to put in the email address and the password. Mail app has no way of knowing what accounts you have added on Gmail unless you tell it.

  21. Cathie

    I have a new MAC computer and I’m trying to get my gmail account to run through mac Mail so I can receive my g -mail. I have run through the steps provided on the website and I’m unsuccessful.

    1. I have the same question I have went thru the same steps and im also unsuccessful

      1. Jack

        I eventually removed the Gmail account, and then reconnected – the new folders I’d created synced then

      2. Cathie

        I had to call Apple and they helped me.

      3. tracy

        I cant get my Mac mail sink with gmail can you please help ?

  22. chris

    I’m so sick of this problem every time I restart my mac, same thing. It says I must re-input my password for my gmail, then eternal SPOD (not the colored wheel, however, more like flashing spokes). So I delete the account and restart. Upon pressing the + button to add a new email account, it gives you the option of selecting a google, or other, pre-select types. If you select google you get eternal SPOD. Select ‘other’ and you can do it. But I’m sick of having to over and over again and no answers anywhere.

  23. Rae

    It keeps coming up unable to verify account or password
    or the proxy settings are insecure!!I have tried so many times and so many ways that it becomes very frustrating!!! Can ANYONE Help me PLEASE???????

    1. sue

      Hi Rae, I was dealing with the same issue for the last two days! (unable to verify account or password) but finally got my gmail back on my desk top. Sign in to your Google
      Account, if that works you know your account is still there
      and your password is good. Go to ‘sign in and security’,
      click on ‘connected apps and sites’, find ‘allow less secure
      apps’ and make sure this is ON! I was messing with my google account and had turned this off and my gmail
      went offline? For two days I kept deleting the gmail account
      in preferences and then trying to add it back again and got
      the same message every time. So.. I deleted gmail from
      preferences on desktop and devices, went into google account and turned ON ‘allow less secure apps’, went
      back to preferences, added gmail and it came right back!
      I hope this works for you.

      1. Rae

        Thanks so much for the advice Sue but I finally went into the Keychain access typed in Gmail and everything I needed came up I just deleted all that was in Red and hey presto I was able to put my 3 Gmail accounts back into my mail.
        It’s great to get feed back form any of you out there and I will be posting a question shortly as I need help with another issue I have.
        Best wishes to you all

      2. Chuck

        Thanks, Sue. Worked for me.

  24. I have been trying all day to set up a google email account to go with my web site name hosted at Weebly .com And have been totally discouraged by the process. Willing to pay for it too, but have no luck getting it to work.

    You could notify me of follow up comments.. but guess what.. my email does not work.. as a result of this mess..

  25. Iban

    I have it all set up right now. Only problem is, on my iphone when I want to sent an email I’m able to choose from either my apple mail or my gmail account.
    On my macbook this option is not given, and I can only sent mails via my Apple mail.
    How can I solve this?

  26. Rowland

    I had previously setup my Gmail account so that when I send email from Gmail, it uses That is the address I want all email recipients to see.

    I then read this article and adjusted my settings in Apple Mail accordingly so that it could use Gmail. (I did not create my Gmail account from scratch, as you suggested, however. I just made a couple tweaks.)

    Incoming mail to and now appear in both Gmail and in Apple Mail Inboxes. Perfect!

    Now when I send email from Apple Mail, it lists my address as And the outgoing email appears in both Gmail and Apple Mail outboxes. HOWEVER, I want the outgoing emai addressl (from Apple Mail) to be not I also want that email to appear in the Gmail outgoing box. Is that possible?

    1. Mail, Preferences, Account Information, Aliases.

      Doesn’t work for me but it’s meant to do what you want.

  27. Ted

    For me the instructions were a little old but followed the context and it worked fine.
    I am a new Apple Mac user and it is a big learning curve coming from a PC and Android.

  28. That all appeared to work and was exactly what I wanted. Thanks.

  29. Marta Nelson

    Thank you very much! This helped me to reactivate my Gmail that was not connecting thru Mac. Please tell me, how do I get back to “mailbox” behaviors” when the account is already set up? I saw it when I was not connecting and trying to fix it, but now that it is done, I cannot find where I can un-click the “save drafts” and I end up with too many because I type so slow! Thank you, Marta

    1. In mail app preferences, accounts.

  30. Delissa Needham

    I’ve added a gmail account on my mac mail but it won;t set up. having ticked the box for calendars, notes, etc that all works but the mail box wont tick and the account is not showing in preferences but if I try and access it by going through accounts in macmail it keeps telling this account is already set up. Why is it not showing in preferences and why won;t it connect? any ideas anyone??

    1. Give Apple support a ring – they are very good. You have free techsupport on any mac you buy.

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