Mail Fetcher

This entry is part 10 of 20 in the series Gmail Master

Gmail now has a way to get email from other accounts with a feature called Mail Fetcher. This differs slightly from the existing technology available in the “Send Mail As” feature described in an earlier podcast. Send Mail As is a “push” technology meaning that your mail is pushed from the original source (say your ISP mailbox) to Gmail. The Mail Fetcher is a pull technology, meaning that Gmail will pull information from your Internet Server Provider, or ISP, mailbox.

While this may seem like semantics at first, the underlying technologies differ quite a bit and the use for one over the other is up to you.

Mail Fetcher is configured from same screen as Send Mail As. Begin by logging in to your Gmail account and clicking on “Settings” in the upper right corner of the screen.

Next click on the “Accounts” link.

Find the section labeled “get mail from other accounts”. Normally there won’t be anything configured yet so click on the link “Add another mail account”. At this point, you can add up to five accounts.

Now enter the email address of the account you plan to pull the information from. For example if I want all my mail that normally goes to to arrive in my, I would enter since that is where it will first be delivered according to the mail routing rules setup on the internet name servers. Sorry if this is a little too technical.

Now, click “Next Step”

You will then be prompted for credentials regarding the other account. you should have your login and password handy. It will also prompt you for the POP server. This is the system which provides access to your mail on that server. If you don’t have that information available you may need to contact your ISP or mail hosting provider. If you are unsure of the port, leave it as the default.

Further options are available to leave a copy of the retrieved message on the server. You may want to check this, but if your other mail host is like mine, the mailbox size limit is not anywhere near as generous as Gmail and it will fill up quickly.

You can also choose to use a secure, or encrypted connection, but make sure your other mail host supports this first.

The third option is to allow the automatic application of a Gmail label of your choosing to the messages from that provider. This may help to identify the originating source of the email or just provide you with a visual record.

Like the filters, you can have this message complete skip the mailbox and go straight to the archive. This is handy if you have an account you use for purely marketing and spam collection, but don’t want it to get filled up.

Once your options are chosen, click “Add Account”.

The final question asks if you would like to be able to send mail as that other account. this is similar to the Send Mail As and allow the recipient of a message to think it came from the other account transparently.

The main difference between Send Mail As and Mail Fetcher is that the former requires you to send a test message, enable forwarding on the first mail account, and allow email to be received by Gmail. Mail Fetcher requires you to enter your credentials and then pulls the mail directly from the other server.

Gmail’s mail fetcher also keeps a history of attempts and fetches from the other account. Once you have setup the account, the same Accounts screen under settings has a link for each account labeled “View History”. The fetches will be done at regular intervals, but you can force Gmail to retrieve email from our other account manually by clicking “Check mail now” for the respective account on the same screen.

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  • K. Nair says:

    Dear Chuck,
    I live in Bombay. I find your podcasts very useful and download it regularly.
    The MAIL FETCHER is a very interesting feature. However I noticed that it works only if the region is selected for US English.
    I was on UK ENGLISH and the ADD ACCOUNT was not visible. Changed to US ENGLISH and got this feature going

  • Chuck Tomasi says:

    Like many new features Google includes in Gmail, they show up in US English settings first then work their way to others over time. I’m sure UK English is not far.