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Joshua Colp

#VoIP enthusiast, #FibreOP evangelist, #Fintech newbie, #VideoStreaming experimenter

How I Use Google Mail On Multiple Devices

This is a quick post about how I use GMail from multiple devices without pulling my hair out.

I dislike GMail so I try to avoid using the web interface as much as possible. This means I use the IMAP and SMTP protocols with it as much as I can. I also have multiple devices that I want to receive email on. This presents a slight problem.

The GMail servers can become very upset if you have multiple devices accessing your IMAP account at the same time. The behavior I saw was that my IMAP requests would take upwards of a minute or more to complete, causing my email client to just… sit there. This would come and go every few weeks. One day I finally got fed up and tweeted about it.

Matt Robinson posted about how he uses offlineimap to overcome this issue. I decided to do the same thing and couldn’t be happier.

I have offlineimap configured to synchronize a local IMAP account with my remote GMail account. This is a bidirectional synchronization so any change on either side goes to the other. All of my devices access this local IMAP account instead of GMail directly. The end result is that GMail sees only a few connections and is happy. It also means that if GMail throws a fit my clients are insulated from it. Over the past 6+ months this has worked great.

If you are experiencing the same issue I would suggest looking at this approach if possible.