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I have a Roundcube account that's linked to my Gmail account via pop3. However, when I send an email from my pop3 account via the Gmail inbox, it doesn't show up in Roundcube. This wouldn't normally be a problem, but recently I set up the same pop3 with a friend's Gmail account and now whenever one of us sends a message from the pop3 account, the other person doesn't see it until someone replies. How do I get my sent mail to show up on the Roundcube server so both Gmail accounts can download that message?

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POP downloads New Messages

Accessing your Gmail account via POP means that you are simply periodically checking your Gmail Inbox for new messages, and then downloading copies. You are additionally able to configure options for whether a copy of downloaded messages is left on the Gmail server, or removed, or removed after a time period etc.

POP does not Sync Sent Items

Using POP means that your mail client does not synchronize Gmail's Sent items folder, nor any others.

Lets suppose the following:

  1. You have a mail client (e.g. Roundcube) we'll label "Client_YOU"
  2. Your friend has a mail client we'll label "Client_FRIEND"
  3. Both Client_YOU & Client_FRIEND access the same Gmail account via POP3.
  4. Both Client_YOU & Client_FRIEND send SMTP email via the aforementioned Gmail account.

The following would be true:

  1. Client_YOU would have a copy of all messages sent via Client_YOU, but have no copy of messages sent via Client_FRIEND or directly from the Gmail interface mail.google.com/
  2. Client_FRIEND would have a copy of all messages sent via Client_FRIEND, but have no copy of messages sent via Client_YOU or directly from the Gmail interface mail.google.com/
  3. Gmail's sent items folder mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#sent would have a copy of all messages sent via Client_YOU as well as Client_FRIEND and directly from the Gmail interface mail.google.com/
  4. If you deleted messages from Client_YOU or Client_FRIEND sent items folders, they would be lost to the respective mail client however would remain in Gmail's sent items folder mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#sent

To reiterate, Client_YOU and Client_FRIEND never synchronize with the Gmail Sent Items folder.

The argument for IMAP

The confusion and risk these multiple independent instances (islands) creates is one of many compelling reasons for using IMAP instead of POP3. IMAP unlike POP3 synchronizes folders.

This allows one to have many disparate mail clients accessing the same Gmail account while keeping the folders synchronized across all clients.

  • Send a message from Client_YOU and it shows in the sent folders of Client_FRIEND as well as any others (e.g. "Client_iPHONE", etc.)
  • Delete a message from any folder in Client_YOU and it is removed from all the other mail clients.
  • Mark a message as read/unread in one of the mail clients and the status is updated across all others.
  • Setup a new mail client and it is updated to match other mail clients you've been using for months/years.
  • Your computer crashes and you lose the mail stored locally on that machine. This is less of an issue given it was a 'copy' not the sole instance of those messages.

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