In Gmail, there are 3 ways to check for new email:

  • Wait
  • Refresh page
  • Click the refresh button

How often does Gmail check while you're waiting?


For a POP account it depends on how often you get mail. If one check results in new mail being found it will shorten the time until the next check, until it reaches a minimum wait time of 5 minutes. If it checks and doesn't find new mail, it lengthens the wait time until it reaches the maximum, which I believe is an hour between checks.

For mail sent directly to Gmail it has new mail coming in all the time, though they don't update your screen instantaneously.

In either case there will be a delay while Google is virus checking them, depending on the size of the message and the size and type of attachments.

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It doesn’t check per se, theoretically at least, because the mail gets pushed to the web interface as it arrives (it is pushed via AJAX requests). Practically, it depends on your connection’s quality, your browser’s speed at a given time, your computer’s speed at a given time etc.

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  • So with a fast internet connection, instant? – Jon Feb 5 '14 at 22:50
  • In theory, yes, it should take as long as the time it travels from the Gmail servers to your browser. I’ve seen emails arrive into my inbox seconds after they were sent (by people in the same room and on different mail services). – Alex Feb 5 '14 at 22:54

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