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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone Internet
The big problem with Google's Gmail (IMO) is that it is POP instead of IMAP. I can understand why, as IMAP creates a much larger server and client overhead. POP is simple: you either get a copy of the email, or not. My solution gets me the benefits of:
  1. any email address you already own that allows forwarding (in this example, jshmoe@pobox.com) -- pobox.com was one of the first services offering a permanent email address.
  2. Gmail spam filtering and archiving
  3. all the benefits of an IMAP account on my iPhone
The steps:
  1. Get an IMAP account (like dotMac or maybe your ISP has IMAP accounts) [example: jshmoe@mac.com]
  2. Get a Gmail account [example: jshmoe@gmail.com]
  3. In the Gmail account, under Settings » Accounts, use the Add another Email Address link to add the jshmoe@pobox.com account to the 'Send mail as' option.
  4. Also in Gmail, under Settings » Forwarding, select the 'Forward a copy of incoming mail to' option, and point it to jshmoe@mac.com (and archive).
  5. Forward all mail to jshmoe@pobox.com to jshmoe@gmail.com
  6. On the iPhone (or any IMAP client software, like Mail.app or Thunderbird.app), create a new IMAP account
  7. On the iPhone, set the address to be the address you want email to be sent to/from. In this example, that would be the permanent address from letter "a" above: jshmoe@pobox.com (See also Variation 1 and 2 below)
  8. On the iPhone, set the Incoming Mail server to the IMAP account in step one above [hostname: mail.mac.com; user name: jshmoe; password: whatever it is]
  9. On the iPhone, set the Outgoing server to the Gmail account in step two [hostname: smtp.gmail.com:587; user name: jshmoe@gmail.com; password: whatever it is]
Please note, the iPhone by default will use secure SSL encrypted ports if they are available, which is always a good idea.

What do you get after all this nonsense:
  1. Your incoming email can continue to be sent to your address of choice. In this example, that is jshmoe@pobox.com, which all your friends already have.
  2. The email to jshmoe@pobox.com gets sent to jshmoe@gmail.com, where it gets filtered for spam, and it gets archived forever.
  3. After filtering, legit copies of email get sent to jshmoe@mac.com.
  4. Your iPhone (and all the rest of your IMAP clients) get to look at the one singular copy of email on jshmoe@mac.com.
  5. When you reply, your outgoing email gets archived on Gmail, and your return address gets to be jshmoe@pobox.com (or whatever you selected in step 7).
  6. Your friends will never really experience your changing your email address, as you continue to be jshmoe@pobox.com while getting all the benefits of Gmail, and of using an IMAP server to get your mail.
  7. You can always use Mobile Safari (or any other browser) to login to your Gmail account and search for a historical email.
  8. You can always go to your IMAP accounts web interface (ie http://mail.mac.com) to check up on the current status of your email and keep things synchronized, though sending email from here will show up with your .mac.com email address ... better to do that from the Gmail web interface.
Variation 1:
If you are happy with having jshmoe@gmail.com as your email address, skip steps three and five, and then in step seven, set your email to jshmoe@gmail.com.

Variation 2:
If you have hosted email with google with user@DOMAIN.TLD as your email address, skip steps three and five, then in step seven, set your email to user@DOMAIN.TLD and in step nine, you use user name as username@DOMAIN.TLD.

Personally, I am using Variation 2 as the email for my x3.com domain is hosted using Google Apps.

[robg adds: I haven't tried this one.]
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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: 6GTXEK on Oct 09, '07 08:42:30AM

One big problem with this method (at least in my experience) is that Gmail doesn't let you forward ALL mail - it will always exclude spam. This may be fine if you find Gmail's spam filter to be perfect, but what happens to me is that it has a very high false positive rate for messages from people I don't regularly communicate with. And since the only way to access your spam folder is through Gmail's web interface, I end up having to log in there regularly and dig through all the spam to make sure I haven't missed an important message. In the end, I found forwarding to be more trouble than it's worth and I've just learned to live with the web and POP3 interfaces.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: Schwie on Oct 09, '07 10:17:00AM

Then if Google/Gmail doesn't do it for you, try forwarding directly to AIM and from AIM forward a copy to your Gmail account (for archival purposes). I've found AIM to be an excellent IMAP provider.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: mjpjr on Oct 09, '07 11:41:27AM

See my response to the original msg regarding its complexity. With regard to your spam-not-spam recovery issue, pobox.com can be configured to send to you a summary message of (email addresses and subject headers) of what it considers spam that it is holding. You can then, from the summary message, click on whatever you want released to you. pobox.com will make some effort to then identify like messages and let them through to you in the future.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 09, '07 01:18:24PM

Actually, this is a feature for me. I find that google's spam filtering to be the best available for me. I've only gotten about 3 false positives in the last year.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: mjpjr on Oct 09, '07 11:33:03AM

Hmmm, sounds a bit complicated particularly if you have a pobox.com account. For an upgraded pobox.com account (one which provides IMAP/webmail) a very very fine spam filtering service is included - no additional charge. The cost, by the way, is less than the yearly subscription to dotmac. So on the surface at least, if you've got a pobox.com account, the only purpose I can see for forwarding your mail to gmail is the permanent archive aspect of it. I see no reason to involve dotmac at all. What am I missing?



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 09, '07 01:20:25PM

Been with POBOX since the first year they started. However, I don't like their spam filtering, and I haven't tried their IMAP.

The key here is that I am rather enamored with GMail, and wanted to integrate that into my flow and my iPhone.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 09, '07 01:28:57PM

Sorry, didn't answer your final question:

Gmail is for both its spam filtering (which I prefer over everything else I've tried) and for its archiving.

The IMAP server is just used for current emails. Things get deleted when they are dealt with. This allows my home desktop, my laptop, my work desktop and my iPhone to stay in sync with current issues. I don't have to worry about deleted replicated emails on every single email client I use, which would be the issue if I used POP.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: fizik on Oct 09, '07 12:09:02PM

Technically, Gmail is not a true POP server: once you read your email with a POP reader, you can't re-read it with another reader/another computer. Also, I am ambivalent about the fact that Gmail has a lot of people hooked on its service (myself included) - I am still steaming over what happened to Yahoo mail and Apple's own .Mac. There is no such thing as a free lunch...



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 09, '07 01:23:29PM

Here's another hint for you:

"recent:username@gmail.com"

used in the username field for a gMail pop client will force the last 30 days to be presented to the pop client. Typically the pop client will then decide if it needs to download anything new. I just gave this hint to a friend to use on his blackberry.



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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: Pausanias on Oct 09, '07 12:16:56PM

The problem with this is that there are no free IMAP services out there. Even if my ISP offered an IMAP account, I would never enslave myself by using it.



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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: kiltbear on Oct 09, '07 01:25:58PM

I'm only using the IMAP server for "live" or "current" emails that I care about. Things live there only for a very short time. After they are dealt with they are deleted. Gmail is the main historical repository which is nicely searchable.

So, I not beholden to the IMAP service provider, but I am damn beholden to Gmail, which may or may not be a problem.



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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: sjk on Oct 09, '07 02:09:07PM
The problem with this is that there are no free IMAP services out there.
Free FastMail Guest accounts support IMAP. I recommend making the modest one-time ($14.95) "donation" for a Member level account, with fewer limitations such as being able to purchase additional mail storage and transfer resources if needed.

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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: mjpjr on Oct 09, '07 04:52:22PM

Do you happen to know any free or otherwise IMAP service providers that let one do server-side folder filtering? I'd like to filter messages such that they show up in various folders but I don't want to have to count on one of my IMAP clients to always be on to do the dispersion of msgs into the right folders. Your iPhone will download only those folders you click on so being able to segregate your mail before the iPhone gets to it would be a wonderful thing !!!!!!



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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: sjk on Oct 10, '07 11:40:22AM
Do you happen to know any free or otherwise IMAP service providers that let one do server-side folder filtering?
A useful resource with answers to that and other IMAP-related questions:

ii.com · IMAP Service Providers: A Step in Dealing with Viruses, Spam, and Email Overload by Nancy McGough

Different factors determine which method(s) of server-side message processing I choose to use (primarily with FastMail and Tuffmail) to achieve the desired results.

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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: richwiss on Oct 09, '07 08:25:46PM

I, too, have a fastmail account and have never had any problems. The web interface is a little clunky, but the IMAP service works fine.



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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: jweill on Oct 09, '07 09:50:19PM
AIM Mail (http://mail.aim.com) gives you a free IMAP account. Or you could sign up for Fastmail (http://fastmail.fm) which isn't free, but which has an IMAP interface and which supports rich server-side filtering with Sieve. Why entrust all your personal mail to a beta service you have to hack into your favorite phone?

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The real problem is getting a free IMAP account
Authored by: sjk on Oct 10, '07 11:12:34AM
Or you could sign up for Fastmail (http://fastmail.fm) which isn't free,
Guest level accounts are free, as mentioned in my previous comment.

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fastmail.fm
Authored by: fizik on Oct 10, '07 11:43:57AM

I concur with other posters - fastmail.fm IMAP rocks!



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I was just thinking about this...
Authored by: ptwithy on Oct 10, '07 03:50:42PM

Because I have a number of imap accounts and the iPhone does not have a merged inbox like Apple Mail. This makes it a pain to see all my mail in one shot on the phone.

And, despite various server-side spam filters, it seems that Apple Mail's junk filter is still doing a fair amount of spam detection. I have it set to move spam to junk folders for all my imap accounts, and I notice when my main computer is asleep/offline, there is a lot of spam in my iPhone inbox.

So... I thought, why don't I just forward all my email accounts to gmail, and them to one imap account that will then be a 'merged' inbox. I'm only hesitating because... gee, do I want google to have all my mail? do I want my personal and work email in one box?

And, I worry that the two sets of forwards, from my 'real' address to gmail, from gmail to my final imap box, could trigger spam alerts as the from address is compared with the server forwarding the mail. SPF worries about things like that...

Aw, I just wish that iPhone mail had merged inboxes. And threads!



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: hzc on Oct 15, '07 05:28:05AM

This works out very well for me! I have several POP accounts that have been forwarded to my Gmail account even before I got an iPhone. When I got the iPhone I started forwarding my Gmail account to my .Mac account so that I could keep the Gmail spam filtering and get IMAP. The last piece of the puzzle was changing the FROM e-mail address when sending mail and this did it.

Now my iPhone and Mac Mail client are always sync'ed.



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Use Gmail with any IMAP client, including the iPhone
Authored by: bgodden on Nov 09, '07 02:38:28PM

Not at all true about free IMAP accounts. I use AOL with a similar method to this to get my gmail. The only headache so far is that sometimes the gmail smtp server does get reached and my mail sending fails. I think I will add some variants from this and see if it works better



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