I have a main (Google Apps Standard Edition) Gmail account which reads mail from 4 different Gmail accounts using POP3. The only problem I have is that it can sometimes take up to one hour before I get an email message, since the mailboxes are only checked about every hour.

How can I get the message immediately as it arrives, or at least very close to that (e.g. < 5 mins), while preserving the features I get by using POP3 access?

Here are the features I currently get by using POP3:

  1. Robust auto tagging of Email based on the account they came from.
  2. Account is kept alive.
  3. Automatically chooses the correct address to reply from.

1: This is much more bullet-proof than simply creating a filter condition such as to:[email protected], for several reasons. The first reason is that there are multiple valid aliases for each email address (e.g. [email protected] or [email protected] which would make the filter criteria complicated). The second reason is that I may have the mail account I'm reading reading mail from some other account (e.g. [email protected]) so the to address would not even contain [email protected]. The same problem applies if I have forwarding set up to that account. Yet another reason is sometimes the sender will do really strange things like not having your email address in any of the to fields (e.g. when BCC'd), so the filter won't match. The point is, that when you use POP3 it is guaranteed to be tagged correctly. I have not found a consistent way to tag it any other way.

2: By logging in every hour or so, the account is kept from being inactivate due to Gmail automatically signing on.

3: When I click "reply" on a message, it automatically selects the correct from address (i.e. the email address that the email was sent to). This way I don't accidentally reveal any of my other addresses to the sender.

  • Be careful about that last part (not accidentally revealing other addresses). In my experience, depending on the mail client a recipient is using, they can tell when you're "sending as" another address in gmail. Google claimed to have fixed this, but I believe it is still the case. Jul 13, 2010 at 20:35
  • This is no longer true. As long as they are Google addresses (apps or gmail) you can authorize to send officially as the other address, not spoofed. SEE: mail.google.com/support/bin/… And Technically it can be done for any SMTP that allows access via Login, the feature is called: Send through SERVERNAME.com SMTP servers (recommended for professional domains)
    – drye
    Jul 13, 2010 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


I don't use POP. I use forwarding (from Google apps to gmail) and think that I nail all 3 of your issues:

  1. To:@domain.com filter tags them all [EDIT] - May not work for gmail->gmail
  2. Never had any issues of the account expiring. Been doing this for at least 36months.
  3. This happens for me, and I also use the send via SMTP feature so that the from address is not spoofed. 100% legitimate.
  • The biggest issue for me is the non-robust tagging when you choose to forward instead of POP3. I like having tags for all my email accounts (e.g. [email protected], [email protected], etc.).
    – Senseful
    Aug 3, 2010 at 0:30

One way is to simply increase the frequency your Gmail accounts are being checked.

This guarantees you have the exact same functionality, since it is still using POP3, just at a higher frequency.

The main problem with this method is that it involves a hack, which may be patched by Google in the future.


You could do the same thing with forwarding...

The trick is to forward to a unique plus-address instead of your real email address, and then creating a filter using the deliveredto: attribute which looks for this-plus address and applies a label matching emails.

I wrote more detailed instructions on my blog.

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