Bring back POP3 for Gmail, Apple

Due to some file corruption issues, I’ve recently had to re-install Snow Leopard on my MBP. Afterward, as I set up Mail, I found out there was no way to configure my Gmail account for POP3 access. IMAP was the only choice. I searched for this on the internet, and it’s a confirmed “design” behavior in Snow Leopard.

I really dislike it when I’m told by someone else how to manage my digital stuff. I’m an IT professional, and I like the POP3 protocol. I don’t care if IMAP is better. I use IMAP on my iPod Touch or iPhone or iPad or Nokia N95, and for those, it works great. But all I want to do on my laptop/desktop is to download my emails via POP3 and archive them by year, then move them into long-term digital storage. (I have an email archive going back to 1996.)

I also want to keep the emails in my Gmail account, so I have them in two places, just in case. You can’t do that with IMAP. You drag an email onto a local folder, and it’s gone from the cloud. I also dislike the fact that IMAP stores a local cache of the cloud emails, eating up space on my hard drive.

Thankfully, I was able to use Time Machine to retrieve a previous version of the Mail Preference file, restored it, and I was back in business with POP3. But everyone who chooses to do a fresh install of Snow Leopard (not an upgrade) is out of luck if they want to use POP3 for Gmail.

Now along comes Apple and says I can’t use POP3 for Gmail anymore, because they don’t feel like including it as a config option in Snow Leopard’s Mail. That really bugs me. It’s not like it cost them anything to have it in there. The code for POP3 was written more than a decade ago. It’s a simple, light protocol (much simpler than IMAP).

Apple, why are you forcing me to do something I don’t want to do? If I like using Mail and POP3 works for me, why take it away? That’s rude. Work on improving the OS, and making it do more, but don’t take away something as basic and simple as POP3!


5 thoughts on “Bring back POP3 for Gmail, Apple

  1. Raul,
    I am not 100% sure, (as I use IMAP), but if I recall, you can indeed set up in Apple Mail the POP3 protocol. The trick is NOT to use the “Gmail” setup, but use the regular POP3 setup, where you specify your server ( and your username/password. And you are good to go!
    (Un “prieten” din Transilvania, now from Budapest 🙂


    • Salut, CDColt, it’s true you can set up other accounts as POP3, but if you go to File >> Add Account, then type in your Gmail Address, there is no way to specify POP3 over IMAP. It defaults to IMAP and that’s that. You have to trick it by entering another email address, and only then will you get the option to set it up as POP3.

      Cum e prin Budapest zilele astea? 🙂


      • OK, I hear what you say. It drives me crazy as well that Apple forces you to take a certain (tech) path, but I need to confess that usually they are right (eg. lack of floppy :-). All in all I think the advantages of owning an Apple computer vs PC still outweighs the disadvantages.

        But I don’t like to be either confined in a “box” – no matter if it is Apple or not.

        La reverdere, Raul! Keep up your great blog!

        your Hungarian fan


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