Saturday, 28 July 2007

I recently (meaning a couple months ago) dumped my increasingly unreliable and time-consuming self-hosted POP and SMTP email server in favor of one of the big hosted service options available for free from a variety of sources. In my case I looked at several of the more ubiquitous options, and chose to go with Google Apps for my domain. A close second was Windows Live Custom Domains from Microsoft, but a couple missing critical features prevented me from going that route (namely access to my email via POP3). Since I am not worried about either company going away or anything, I went with the one that seems to best fit my needs as far as features and functionality are concerned. Getting the Blackberry client app for Google mail was another bonus.

However, I ran into two frustrating problems when I set up the Google Mail for and started accessing the email server via POP access from Thunderbird and my Blackberry Internet service.

First, I found that in some cases, once an email had been downloaded by any POP client, no others had access to download it. This is a problem if you're relying on having your email available in more than one place as I have taken for granted before.

Second, any emails sent to my own email address - the same one associated with the account - simply would not download via POP3 access, ever. Since my weblog sends email to me from my own email address (as do a couple other apps), this was a real problem. I could not really change the behavior of my applications, since doing so would break other aspects of the systems. Besides, every other mail server with POP3 support had always worked the same way (and worked just fine), so why was Google Mail's so different?

Well, it turns out there is a not-so-obvious option (not used by default) that allows you to resolve both of these issues. It's called "recent mode." Google explains it in their help in the context of the "how do I use multiple clients" issue, but the problem related to POP-ing messages sent to 'Me' is resolved as well. The solution relates to putting an overload modifier on the front end of the email account name when you log in (a little weird and probably sloppy, but perfectly functional). It's explained below. Too bad one can't just toggle the functionality as a permanent setting in the Google Mail web interface (you can set it for a one-time download option, but it always reverts to the default after that, so it appears the below option is the only way to permanently resolve this).

To solve the problem, you have to modify your login in your POP settings with the overloading prefix:


 needs to change to:


The following information is snipped from the Google GMail help center (since this applies to both the general GMail and Google Apps mail services):

If you're accessing your Gmail using POP from multiple clients, Gmail's recent mode makes sure that all messages are made available to each client, rather than only to the first client to access new mail.

Recent mode fetches the last 30 days of mail, regardless of whether it's been sent to another POP client already.

If you sign in to Gmail using your Blackberry, you're signed in to recent mode automatically. For all other POP clients, replace '' in your POP client settings with ''.

Source: Gmail - Help Center - How should I use POP on mobile or multiple devices?

Add/Read: Comments [7]
Saturday, 28 July 2007 14:09:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Monday, 30 July 2007 07:51:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Great info, thanks for sharing (I use Google and just upgraded to a blackberry)

One thing I've noticed about Google is that they offer very powerful features but do a crappy job at showing people how to use them.

I just had to email Goole AdWords about something so, so simple....they just failed to put it on their help pages.
Friday, 14 September 2007 16:06:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
try selecting "Leave a copy of message on server" under the account settings.
Monday, 14 January 2008 13:56:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Thanks! This solved my problem of not getting email I send to myself... But, now when I send an email from my POP client, I receive a copy of the message I sent in my sent items as well as in my inbox. Any idea on how to not have this happen or why it's happening? No matter who I send to, I get a copy of the sent message in my inbox. Thanks in advance!
Tuesday, 11 March 2008 20:50:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I receive a copy of the message I sent in my sent items as well as in my inbox. Any idea on how to not have this happen or why it's happening? No matter who I send to, I get a copy of the sent message in my inbox. Thanks in advance
Pravin Patel
Sunday, 13 April 2008 02:15:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I had similar problems (Thunderbird with a Google-mail based Mail service by my provider):

- first Thunderbird did not automatically load new incoming mails via pop, no matter what my settings in Thunderbird or Google-mail were. This has been solved with the "recent:" trick that has been discussed above (add "recent:" in front of your user name in the Thunderbird mail account settings)

-second, my outgoing mail sent from Thunderbird was then sent away correctly, but also a copy of it was sent back to my inbox. So I had two copies on my sent mail, one in the sent box, one in the inbox. To solve this I logged into Google mail and created a filter that filters out all the mail that comes from my own Email address (move to trash). As far as I understand, my Mail sent away with Thunderbird will be sent correctly to the recipient, but a copy of it is interpreted as incoming mail and is forwarded back to me. Now this does not happen any more. What I can no longer do, however, is sending mail from myself to myself using Thunderbird, because such mails are filtered out.
Friday, 02 May 2008 04:45:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Final solution:

You can setup another filter which will throw away all outgoing email except email you sent to yourself

From: name@domain
To: -name@domain

PS: Don't forget the minus sign

name@domain is your own email adress of course.

Have fun!
Marcel Vonk
Friday, 02 May 2008 04:49:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Next step:

Mark: Delete it.

Create Filter

To make it complete!

Marcel Vonk
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