Using Gmail with Mutt and IMAP

Written by Mark Sanborn: Jun 5, 2008

I am not quite sure why it is but there are always people that want to do things faster and more efficient, even if the current system is working fine. I have to admit I love to tweak things to no end. For whatever reason I am attracted to this type of perfection. I want to optimize code, automate, and increase my productivity as a user. Just as there are more efficient text editors and operating systems, we also have more efficient email programs. Mutt is one of them. Since Gmail offers IMAP we can retrieve our emails with an email program such as mutt.

Installing Mutt

Mutt is usually installed by default on most Linux distributions but sometimes we need to install it.

For Debian systems:

apt-get install mutt

For Gentoo:

emerge mutt

Using Gmail with Mutt and IMAP

You can open Mutt by typing ‘mutt’ and pressing enter. Once connected you will then need to tell Mutt where your mailbox is. Our mailbox is stored on Google’s servers. To open it hit, ‘c’ and type:


You will then be prompted to type in your username and password.

Congratulations you are managing your email with mutt.

I highly recommend checking out the Mail Concept. For understanding how email actually works. Most of use don’t appreciate what goes into the mail delivery/sending system since its usually configured for us.

To configure Mutt to send mail you may want to check out, Send Mail Postfix through Gmail’s SMTP.

If you want to make a backup of all your emails you can use fetchmail to backup gmail.

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