Is there a way to set up gmail POP3 server so firefox can download email in a certain period, e.g. Sep. 1st - Sep. 30th, 2021?

It seems I had messed up my POP3 settings and email in a certain period were not downloaded. Although I have straightened out the setting problem, there are old email that are in gmail, but not in firefox. So the question is how to download those particular email that are missing in firefox.

1 Answer 1


There are a different ways to address this and they all benefit from insight into your problem space.

e.g. The reasons you are choosing POP over IMAP at all. Synchronizing mail across devices (your problem) is one of IMAP's differentiating features over IMAP. Lose your laptop, spin up a new laptop, connect via IMAP, voilà, all items in your sent items inbox, draft etc. back in your new mail client. Have multiple devices, send on one, shows as sent on other etc.


!! Read Warnings at End !!

Note: there are ways to trigger behaviors from your POP client via HTML Gmail settings. I have however not used them in the proposed solution below. The solution below includes temporarily creating an IMAP account in Thunderbird. If you are unwilling to do that I have included some Resources near the end of the post that you can review to assist you to find an alternate means. A cursory review by me combined with my own experience led me to avoid them in favor of my proposed solution.

  1. In HTML GMAIL, use a custom search to identify the the emails that meet your criteria.
    Example restricted to INBOX: "before:2021/10/01 after:2021/09/01 in:inbox"
  2. Apply a new (unique) custom label to the search results. e.g. "needtodownload"
  3. Add your Gmail account as a new account to Thunderbird via IMAP (not POP)
  4. Install an add-on for Thunderbird to import and export mail. I found this one that appears well suited: importexporttools-ng
  5. In Thunderbird synchronize and export the mail from the IMAP account folder with the label you chose in Step 2 (e.g. "needtodownload").
  6. Import the mail you just exported in #5 into your POP account.
  7. Confirm you still have the emails in the IMAP account and that they now show in the POP account.
  8. Remove your newly created IMAP account from Thunderbird.
  9. In HTML Gmail remove the custom label from the emails once you confirm all is well.


  1. I haven't used the add-on. Use the add-on at your own risk. Use everything in this post at your own risk too if that needs to be said.
  2. Be sure to export a copy of the emails from the IMAP folder. Under no circumstances should they be moved or deleted in Thunderbird's IMAP account manually or as an option (if available) in add-in's export function as the changes will be synchronized back to GMAIL.
  3. I do not recommend manage a GMAIL account using POP unless the differences are well understood and it is appropriate for a particular use case.
  4. If IMAP is more appropriate, the work you are about to invest would be better spent switching.

Additional Resources

  1. Gmail POP Setup & some troubleshooting link
  2. How does Gmail POP work? link: Normal Mode; Recent Mode; Re-downloading messages and excluding existing messages.
  • Thanks for the reply. I use POP3 because I want to download email to my local PC so I have a copy of the email on my harddisk. That way, I don't need to go online to read old email in case I can't go online. Another thing is I won't then fill up my gmail account, which has a limited capacity.
    – joehua
    Oct 15, 2021 at 0:59
  • Sounds good. If the solution works for your needs, please accept it. Good luck.
    – Blindspots
    Oct 15, 2021 at 6:37

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