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Can I control how often Gmail polls POP3 accounts for incoming mail?

I have a Gmail account which is accessing several other Gmail accounts using POP3 access. For some of these addresses, it can take up to an hour between each time it is checked.

How can I increase the frequency so that it is closer to 5 minutes or less?

  • 2
    if you need realtime chat you should switch the tool :)
    – akira
    Jul 13, 2010 at 20:24

3 Answers 3


It seems that Gmail will check your account at a rate of twice as often as mail appears in the account [lifehacker.com]. For example, if you get an email message every 10 minutes, it will check the account every 5 minutes.

So the trick is to set up a system that will automatically send you mail at the specified rate.

Here are some ways to do it using:

  • Google Calendar: Make a dummy calendar and event that is repeated every X minutes. Set up an email reminder for this event.
  • Google Docs: You can create a script which sends you an email message every X minuets.

Be sure to create a filter that will trash these email messages so that they don't clog your inbox!

  • nice hack, i expect this backdoor to be closed sooner or later. but nice hack.
    – akira
    Jul 13, 2010 at 20:28
  • I doubt that this will be prevented, as long as you are getting messages more often I believe your account will be checked more often. Jul 13, 2010 at 22:30
  • 1
    so you need a service which actually SPAMS your POP3 inbox to get fetch the real mail faster? i think google will see a pattern there.
    – akira
    Jul 14, 2010 at 6:17

Just enable the labs feature "Refresh POP accounts" by Emmanuel P. It will add a link to your interface which allows you to trigger the POP account mail fetch. This comes in handy when you sign up for a new service and you just know that a new mail with an activation link will arrive in a second.

  • 1
    +1, what I was about to say. One note: it won't let you refresh more than a certain number of times in a given time period. They don't specifically say what those limits are though.
    – nhinkle
    Jul 14, 2010 at 6:51
  • The limit is not very long. My experiments say around 2 minutes...
    – Julien N
    Jul 14, 2010 at 12:42

I do not think that you can control that limit (everyone would put it to the lowest possible timespan anyway).

What you could do is to forward (or bounce) the mail from the POP3 account towards GMail, so it pops up sooner.

  • Regarding, everyone would put it to the lowest possible timespan anyway, I actually wanted to decrease the interval in my case, since the the account it's checking gets a lot of junk.
    – Sam
    May 21, 2013 at 8:49

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