I use Gmail to handle my mail, but it's mostly imported by Gmail from an external POP3 account.

Normally this works fine, but I;ve had some instances where Gmail has gone almost 24 hours without even trying to contact the POP3 server.

Now, on Gmail 'desktop', I can push the "refresh" button, and it will do it, but when I access Gmail from my mobile, the mobile version of the site (on Android 1.5, not that it matters) doesn't seem to have a way of doing this refresh. AFAIK I can't even access the POP3 settings.

How can I get Gmail to poll in a guaranteed timely fashion?


Lifehacker.com just published a trick to increase the frequency of the checks in Gmail.

It's a bit of work to set it up, but essentially you need to ensure that your POP3 accounts frequently get new mail.

Gmail bases its mail-fetching frequency on how often it finds messages in the account when it checks; if the account only gets email rarely, Gmail will check it once per hour. From what I've been able to tell, given a regular rate, Gmail's mail fetcher seems to stabilize at fetching twice as often as mail appears in the account.

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    You can also use Google Calendar for this: Make a dummy calendar and an event that is repeated every X minutes. Set up an email reminder for this event. – Senseful Jul 15 '10 at 17:23
  • Is there any "official" info on your affirmations? – marcolopes Nov 6 '13 at 20:00
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    Sadly, this trick stopped working sometime in 2013. Gmail seems to poll POP accounts ≈ every hour on average. – user13779 Jun 15 '14 at 13:00
  • Phong, care to reference that claim? – mem Sep 16 '14 at 7:50

If you look under Google Labs, there's a feature called:

Refresh POP accounts

"Fetch messages from your POP accounts on demand by using the refresh link on top of the inbox."

  • Thanks, I was about to ask the same question, I like this solution better than the accepted one! Even when you mentioned it I read over the feature and had to use Ctrl + F to find it :o – Lekensteyn May 22 '11 at 19:30
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    No longer available. – ale Jul 13 '16 at 14:30

I've figured out a work around. Basically, I've written a script that sends an email to my email address every minute. Then, I have a filter in my gmail email to delete any email that has a special subject. It's up and running and working - gmail seems to be checking for emails every minute. If you'd like to be added to my list, send me an email: akshooty at, of course, my gmail account!

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