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Gmail has an option where you can enable IMAP, I'm using G-Suite, so not sure if this is available in the free version or not, but I noticed whether or not I enable this I can connect to Gmail without problems.

I have read that this may be because Gmail naturally runs over IMAP, but then what's the point of having the option to enable/disable it - is there any difference?

Also, I have read there are some security concerns if you enable it - but isn't it working all the time anyway as discovered?

Edit: I am using Thunderbird as an IMAP client to connect to it from my desktop.

  • Are the G Suite administrator for your organization or talked with them so you are certain that it's not enabled at organization level? What is the context regarding having enable or disable? Are you using an IMAP client to use GMail for your organization? – Rubén Jul 16 '18 at 0:06
  • @Rubén I'm the administrator and it's just myself; and yes, I am using Thunderbird as an IMAP client to connect to it. – Brett Jul 16 '18 at 18:12
  • If you are the admin of your organizacion checkout the IMAP settings on admin.google.com it's very likely that IMAP settings are turned on there. – Rubén Jul 16 '18 at 18:18
  • @Rubén In which section? – Brett Jul 16 '18 at 18:21
  • Type IMAP on the search box of admin.google.com – Rubén Jul 16 '18 at 18:23
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Unless you're using a third-party mail client that uses IMAP, no, there's no point in having IMAP turned on. In fact, to keep your mailbox more secure, you should keep it off.

  • I think you misunderstood my question; I am using it, but I noticed it works whether I have it enabled or not, so was wondering the purpose of even turning it on if it still works with it disabled. – Brett Jul 7 '18 at 20:42
  • What third-party email client are you using to get your email, then? – ale Jul 7 '18 at 23:25
  • Thunderbird.... – Brett Jul 8 '18 at 17:23
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    That's important information that should be in your question. As for Thunderbird, if I recall, they don't exactly use IMAP to connect to Gmail. (Admittedly, it's been a long time since I've used it.) – ale Jul 9 '18 at 12:35
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IMAP is for reading Gmail messages in other mail clients, like Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail. When you use IMAP, you can read your Gmail messages on multiple devices, and messages are synced in real time.

So no need to enable it, unless you need to use it. Imagine it like some "additional port" for gmail e.g. more ports opened = less secure (in worst case scenario / theory)

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is an Internet standard protocol of accessing and storing mails on a mail server. With IMAP, email clients can take email messages from a mail server over a TCP/IP connection.

  • I think you misunderstood my question; I am using it, but I noticed it works whether I have it enabled or not, so was wondering the purpose of even turning it on if it still works with it disabled. – Brett Jul 7 '18 at 20:42
  • @Brett I didnt actually... ofcourse it works with enabled as well as with disabled... and as I wrote - unless you use Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail to access your emails on gmail, then you dont need to toogle IMAP settings (note that G-Suit is something different) – user0 Jul 7 '18 at 20:50
  • Well I'm using Thunderbird on my desktop to access it as well; what's so different about Outlook and Apple Mail that it needs to be enabled? Why doesn't it need to be enabled to be able to use it in Thunderbird or anything else? – Brett Jul 7 '18 at 21:05
  • @Brett Thunderbird uses POP3 protocol by default instead of IMAP - so thats why. also, ofcourse it supports IMAP too, but this future needs to be enabled by creating/converting IMAP account and deleting POP3 account - support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/switch-pop-imap-account – user0 Jul 7 '18 at 21:17
  • It's already been setup in the account settings as IMAP. – Brett Jul 8 '18 at 17:26

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