Google Mac Mail setup

Before you can send messages, you may need to check your outgoing mail settings.

Gmail & Google Apps Mail allow you to tag a message with several labels on the web interface. For example, an email might be in your inbox and also labeled Important and ABC Project. Gmail also allows you to archive messages and view all messages (inbox, sent and others) in one list. Now the Mail app on your Mac can do all this, too.

Your Mac Mail app should display an All Mail mailbox in the left sidebar. (It might say Archive if you also have non-Google accounts). Don’t see this? See instructions below. Click All Mail to see every message you’ve received, sent, or filed into another mailbox folder. You might even see messages you deleted or archived. You can sort messages chronologically or any way you like at the top of the list. Although the search box in the top toolbar may be more convenient, having all your messages in one list can help.

As usual, you can drag messages from the inbox to a mailbox (for example, ABC Project). No matter where you file them they will also show in All Mail. Now try this: click All Mail and drag the same messages from there to a second mailbox (say, Priority). It shows in both mailboxes (and All Mail). You’re not really making copies on your drive – it’s just another way to find the same message, like an alias. If you delete a message from one mailbox it remains in the others. Remove a message everywhere by deleting it in All Mail. This works best when all the mailboxes are in the Google account section – not mailboxes On My Mac.

Finding out if you need to enable All Mail

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose About This Mac.
  2. Make sure you’re using OS X version 10.9 or later. If not, upgrade your OS X first.
  3. Click More Info…
  4. Click Storage. Make a note of the free space on your drive.
  5. Open the Mail app.
  6. Click the arrow next to Archive or All Mail. There should be an All Mail box for each Google account. (Non-Google mail accounts may not be listed in Archive.) If you see All Mail, stop here. If not, you need to enable it using the instructions below. 

Enabling All Mail on Gmail’s web site

  1. Sign into Gmail at with the full email address and password.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check your Gmail storage. Compare this to the free space on your drive. You must have extra space for Mail to work. Do not proceed unless the drive has at least 3 times as much free space as the Gmail storage. See help.
  3. Click the gear icon.
  4. Choose Settings.
  5. Click Labels. 
  6. Under Show in label list, click Show next to All Mail, Spam and Trash.
  7. Across from All Mail, check Show in IMAP.
  8. Click Inbox to save changes.
  9. Open the Mail app. Leave Mail open while all mail is downloaded. It may take 10 minutes per GB (with at least 15 mbps internet). Track progress in the Activity window (under the Window menu). If you quit Mail before it is finished it will complete at the next launch. You can use Mail while messages are being downloaded although new incoming messages may be delayed while downloads are in progress.

Learn more about using Google apps with a Mac.

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