Using Gmail with Postbox



Postbox and Gmail work beautifully together, a match made in heaven. But there are some important differences between Gmail's webmail interface and Postbox that you should know about. Read on!

Gmail Labels

Postbox supports Gmail labels, including messages labeled "Important."

There's nothing to set up, it all just works as it should, but there are a couple of things to note:

  • Label indicators for Gmail labels are square, and Topic indicators are rounded (pill-shaped)
  • Multiple labels will mean multiple copies of a message will exist across those folders
  • The shortcut key for assigning a Gmail Label is "L"
  • You can change the color associated with a label by right-clicking the label in the folder pane and choosing Label Color from the context menu. Gmail labels must contain at least one color, and there is no current way to change the color for multiple labels at once.

When you have a label selected, you cannot remove it through an Archive function. You must remove the label by using the "L" shortcut or by clicking the colored dot in the message envelope.

Important Label

Gmail marks messages it determines as important with the "Important" label. This happens on Gmail's servers.

To hide the Important Label, including the important icon that appears in the message list pane to the left of the subject:

  1. Unsubscribe from your Important folder by following these steps.
  2. Restart Postbox.
  3. Go to Preferences > Accounts > [your Gmail account].
  4. Click on the Advanced... button.
  5. Make sure that "Show only subscribed folders" option is checked.

Gmail's All Mail Folder

In Postbox, you will find within the "[Gmail]" folder "All Mail" and "Starred." All Mail contains a copy of every message in your Gmail account, so this folder can be quite large.

If a message in Gmail has a label, then a copy of that message is created in Postbox. For example, a message in Gmail's Inbox will be found within the Inbox and All Mail folders in Postbox. If a message in Gmail's Inbox contains the label "Holiday," then a copy of that message will be found in the Inbox, Holiday, and All Mail folders in Postbox.

Postbox Tips for Better Performance:

If you do not wish to view or download messages within All Mail, you can unsubscribe from this folder or limit the number of messages that display in the All Mail Folder. Please see this article for details.

Getting Folders Correctly Mapped

Trash Folder

In Preferences or Options > Accounts > YourGmailAccount > Account Settings, towards the bottom of this panel is a setting for deleting a message.

Make sure that "Move it to this folder" is selected.

Note: You cannot select a custom folder, as Gmail doesn't perform well when other folders are specified for Trash. You can learn more about changing the delete behavior for your Gmail account here.

Sent Folder

In Preferences or Options > Accounts > YourGmailAccount > Copies & Folders, make sure that "Place a copy in…" is NOT checked. Gmail will automatically add sent messages to the sent folder on the server side.

Drafts Folder

In Preferences or Options > Accounts > YourGmailAccount > Copies & Folders, select the "Other" button, and make sure that the Drafts folder is being mapped to:
your Gmail account / [Gmail] / Drafts.

Templates Folder

In Preferences or Options > Accounts > YourGmailAccount > Copies & Folders, select the "Templates" button, and select your Gmail account.


In Preferences or Options / Accounts / YourGmailAccount / Copies & Folders, select the "Other" button, and make sure that the Archive folder is being mapped to:
your Gmail account / [Gmail] / All Mail

Junk Folder

In Preferences or Options > Accounts > YourGmailAccount > Junk Settings, check "Move new junk messages to" and then select "Other" button, and make sure that the Junk folder is being mapped to: your Gmail account > [Gmail] > Spam

Next, go to Preferences or Options > Security > Junk and check "When I mark messages as junk" and select "Move them to the accounts 'Junk' folder."

Removing [Gmail] from the folder list

If you wish to remove [Gmail] from the folder list, please follow these instructions.

Note: this will change the name of your labels in Gmail on the web from "labelName" to "[Gmail]/labelName".

  1. Drag and drop all folders you've created on the IMAP server into the [Gmail] subfolder.
  2. Go to Preferences or Options > Accounts > [your Gmail account] > and click the Advanced... button.
  3. For IMAP Server Directory, enter: [Gmail]
  4. Close the panel.
  5. Restart Postbox.


  • If upon restart you see double folders for Spam, Trash, etc., simply restart again and the problem should clear up.
  • If your Sent Mail folder is placed amongst your labels, restart yet again and the problem should clear up.

Delete Behavior in Postbox

Postbox is Gmail aware and does different things based on the folder you are in:

Within a label/folder, deleting removes the message from the current label/folder only, and the message remains in other labels/folders.

For more detailed information on delete behavior, please see this article.

Working with Spam

When you mark a message as "Junk" in Postbox, it is moved to Gmail's "Spam" folder. However, emptying the Spam folder in Postbox does not empty the Spam folder in Gmail. Gmail on the web will automatically delete messages that have been in the Spam folder for more than 30 days.

Gmail Starred Mail and Postbox Reminders

Email messages contain a hidden keyword called a "flag," and different email clients have different names and symbols for flagged messages. In Gmail, they are called "Starred" messages. In Apple Mail, they are "Flagged" messages, and in Outlook they are called "To-Dos." Postbox also associates flagged messages as Reminders.

In short, Starred Messages in Gmail = Reminders in Postbox.

Control IMAP Folder Size Limits

Gmail (and Google Apps) users have the opportunity to put a limit on how many messages will sync per folder. To use this feature, go to Mail Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP and find the Folder Size Limits option at the bottom. Choices range from 1,000 to 10,000.

More resources

Helpful links at Google

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