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I have configured my Gmail client to also check email from another (POP3) account. The fetch history indicates that Gmail does this automatically about once per hour. Is there any way to set this to a higher frequency of my choice?

I was unable to find any official Google information regarding this frequency. Based on a reply from another forum, I thought perhaps the fetch frequency was based in-part on the amount of mail received at the other account. To test this, on that account, I signed up for a forum subscription that sent ~20 emails per hour. For a day or so, Gmail did indeed change the frequency at which it fetched emails. But during that time, the frequency fluctuated relatively wildly. After that time period ended, the algorithm seemed to figure out what was happening and went back to its normal once-per-hour frequency.

During my tests, I also figured out that pressing the Gmail refresh button will initiate a fetch. This is my current workaround, but certainly not ideal, especially in the case of more critical work email.

Note that the browser's refresh button will not initiate the fetch--only the in-page Gmail refresh button (which is hidden if you have a message selected).

edit: It was suggested that my question is a duplicate of this question. I assert that mine is a new question because the older question was asking how to refresh in Android, and I am asking about Windows. I acknowledge that the solution put forth in that question was applicable to Windows at the time. But I tried that solution and it did not resolve my issue. This was the test I described in my original post. Furthermore, the older question is six years old, and four years after its post, someone commented in the thread that the solution was no longer viable. My test is consistent with that.

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    Possible duplicate of Can I control how often Gmail polls POP3 accounts for incoming mail?
    – pritaeas
    Jul 13, 2016 at 9:20
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    This is part of POP, which is a very old standard, relying on the client to go ask the server for any new mail. IMAP on the other hand "syncs" the accounts which allows for much better performance.
    – Folk
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:51
  • Go to the other email provider (not GMail), mostly in their preferences pane, you will see forwarding. There you can add your Gmail account as a forwarder, please remember to keep a copy in your main inbox. This will make you receive your emails withing a minute
    – saas_joel
    Jan 27 at 11:57

5 Answers 5

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If possible, instead of getting Gmail to fetch from the external account, arrange for the external account to forward all emails to the Gmail account. They will be received in the Gmail account almost immediately after having been received by the external account, regardless of Gmail's fetch frequency.

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  • OK that's interesting to know, thanks. I may play around with that if my current solution (see the link posted in response to @ale's reply) becomes untenable. I've been using it for nearly the past year and it's been pretty rock solid.
    – cag8f
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:17
  • Thats what i do, also gmail has a maximum number of accounts it can fetch from (i think its 5 but dont quote me on that) where as if your forwarding from other accounts there is no limit. Only difference is that with a pop3 fetch you have the option to fetch old emails, where as with a forward it will only forward the future emails
    – sam
    Feb 26, 2018 at 17:56
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    Now that DMARC deployment is common, forwarders are not the great solution they once were as they can lead to more mail being unnecessarily classified as spam. Example: someone sends email from @mysite.com, mysite.com's DNS denotes DMARC can be used to identify fake mail, the forwarding process breaks part of DMARC, gmail now incorrectly identifies the incoming mail as having faked From address. In theory only the SPF part of DMARC should be affected, but sometimes the other part (DKIM) was broken or missing anyway for reasons at the sender's side.
    – trr
    Apr 17, 2019 at 1:56
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    This is not a good solution, I have had issues with GMail marking everything from the forwarded account as spam due to the spam that does go to the forwarding address (IOW, GMail decides it doesn't trust the other mail server any more and blacklists it as a spam source).
    – Doktor J
    Oct 15, 2019 at 20:57
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    Old question, but to reiterate what others have said; this is not a good solution. It only takes one other person (or you) on your shared hosting to send a bunch of spam and the server (i.e. your) IP address will be blocked from sending (including forwarding) emails to gmail.
    – Steve
    Jun 25, 2020 at 2:13
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I use Contact Form 7 on WordPress and was having the same difficulty with not receiving emails connected to my Gmail account.

I added a Bcc section in my contact form for my normal Gmail. So now when my clients message me I receive an email right away (from my Gmail email account), and then receive another some time later (from my POP3 account).

It's a bit annoying to receive two emails, but I can still reply from my POP3 email (my business email) immediately once I have received it on my Gmail.

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  • Interesting workaround.
    – ale
    Feb 15, 2018 at 20:16
  • @Jared That's interesting. But it seems to apply only to emails sent via your WordPress contact form--correct?
    – cag8f
    Feb 16, 2018 at 2:57
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There is no setting in Gmail that you can change to get it to poll your POP3 accounts more often.

From what I've seen, Google figures out on its own how frequently messages need to be pulled, and they don't share exactly what criteria they use.

All you're left with is possible trickery that may or may not work, and if it works it may only work until Google gets wise to it. I'd expect you'd want something more reliable than that. (Do you really want to send a message to your POP3 account every minute?)

If you need webmail that polls your POP3 account more often, you should probably look to a different provider.

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  • thanks. All your info is consistent with what I'm seeing. >> If you need webmail that polls your POP3 account more often, you should probably look to a different provider. I think you mean email client, not email provider, right? If I used Outlook instead of Gmail, I would be able to set this frequency. Also, in an old Stack Exchange post about IMAP in Gmail, I found this link (danielslaughter.com/projects/… browser script to increase the frequency to once every 8 minutes. Obviously risky, since the source isn't trusted.
    – cag8f
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:17
  • Stack overflow says I don't have enough rep to answer, so I'll leave a comment about my "possible trickery that may or may not work" ... I've been using forwarding for a decade plus, but finally got tired of the intermittent blocked/dropped mails from the past few years, and the unpredictable reputation of my hosting provider's mail servers. So I tried this: 1. Cron job that sends me a mail once a minute. 2. Gmail filter that deletes the mail from cron. That has gmail checking my POP3 every 2 minutes. A bit slower than forwarding, but at least it's reliable.
    – joecullin
    Aug 15, 2022 at 21:03
  • * * * * * echo "gmail test" && date -u
    – joecullin
    Aug 15, 2022 at 21:06
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To follow up on this, in an old Stack Exchange post about IMAP in Gmail, I found this link to a Chrome extension that increases the frequency to once every 8 minutes. I've been using it for the past ~9 months and it seems to work very well--I'm satisfied.

Unfortunately I did not save the Stack Exchange post where I originally found this information :-( If someone else can locate it, please reference it here.

Also, @Andrew Partridge's solution could be viable, especially if you also configure Gmail to "Send mail as:" the other account.

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    On the trustability of that link. The code checks back to www.danielslaughter.com/projects/greasemonkey_gmailpop3/core.php?version=' + o.version + '&pk=' + o.pk and then eval() the response. Which is a pretty big attack vector..... Dec 7, 2018 at 18:28
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The Google Chrome extension Gmail POP Sync apparently can decrease the inverval to 5 minutes for free, and 1 minute with a paid subscription.

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