#681 new

Cannot retrieve full archives of Gmail account

Reported by Meindert | March 23rd, 2014 @ 03:12 AM

I just bought MailMate and my plan is to switch from the abandonware Sparrow to MailMate, while also moving all my Gmail accounts to Fastmail or perhaps some other service. I'm testing MailMate right now. There are several things I don't understand, but I'll limit myself to one here:

I have a Gmail account with a large number of e-mails in All Mail. I added it to MailMate. Later I went through the account deleting all Labels and selecting all the All Mail e-mails and Archiving them in Google.

MailMate is not downloading the archives from Google. Do I get one chance to do that when the new account is added, and if at that time I hadn't archived all the All Mail stuff I don't get another chance? Or should MailMate notice the new archives and download them? Or do I have to force that somehow? Or delete the account and re-add it?

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • benny

    benny March 24th, 2014 @ 02:17 PM

    I don't understand “selecting all the All Mail e-mails and Archiving them in Google”. “All Mail” is where Gmail keeps archived emails?

    With respect to your other questions: If you mean when MailMate detects new mailboxes then you might have to right-click the account under sources and choose “Synchronize”. This also happens on startup (and maybe at other times -- I can't quite remember), but there is no way MailMate could watch for such changes to reflect them immediately (that is, there is no IMAP solution for that).

    MailMate works quite well with Gmail, but Gmail is not IMAP and it is unfortunately necessary to understand how Gmail works to understand what really happens behind the scenes. You can read about it here and here.

    Thanks for trying out MailMate.

  • Meindert

    Meindert March 25th, 2014 @ 08:23 AM

    Yes, I had read those pages. And I read them again. My misunderstanding was equating the Archive button in the Gmail interface to labeling with the MailMate-created [Gmail]/archive label. That's not clear at first glance.

    Some documentation advice: You explain way too much on those pages. Make a single instruction page along the lines of:

    You use Gmail? Chose one of the following two options:

    (a) Labels are not so important to me in Gmail, and I want a simpler migration. (Recommended)

    (b) Labels are very important to me, and I don't mind going through a more tedious setup.

    Then for each of those options have a numbered how-to list of steps to go through, with screenshots. And no explanation or editorializing about Gmail. Just the bare steps.

  • Meindert

    Meindert March 25th, 2014 @ 08:32 AM


    -- I opened my Gmail (Google Apps Mail) mailbox in the Gmail webmail interface.

    -- I selected all the messages by clicking the top checkbox and then the link to select all messages in the mailbox, not just on that page), 21,000 e-mails.

    -- I clicked the Label icon and selected [Gmail]/Archive.

    -- I clicked Apply, and waited until it was finished.

    -- I quit and restarted MailMate

    -- MailMate seemed to connect up and be busy.

    -- MailMate stopped

    -- I now have two [Gmail]/Archive boxes in MailMate Unread, and one under Sources > [my e-mail address]

    -- The two boxes in Unread only have 400 or 500 messages each; the one under Sources has zero (apparently because the account is "unavailable" now, and the messages are not locally downloaded?)

    I want to get the 21,000 messages downloaded to my Macintosh. How do I do that? If I cannot do that I cannot upload them to a new mail provider, unless I decide to just abandon them on Gmail.

  • benny

    benny March 25th, 2014 @ 10:31 AM

    So, in the web-interface you see 21K emails in the “[Gmail]/Archive” mailbox, but in MailMate you have 0 (under SOURCES).

    The “unavailable” state means MailMate does not think it can connect to the server. To make sure we are on the same page then I'd like you to fetch the latest test version of MailMate: Hold down ⌥ when clicking “Check Now” in the Software Update preferences pane. Let me know if that makes a difference.

  • Meindert

    Meindert March 31st, 2014 @ 05:41 AM

    In Gmail I can select all the messages in All Mail (22,000+) and assign them to [Gmail]/Archive label to them, and Google gives me all the appropriate confirmation messages (All 21,000 conversations in All Mail are selected, All conversations have been added to '[Gmail]/Archive')

    Having done this the left-hand column in Gmail still gives the lower number, i.e. [Gmail]/Archive (1,500), the approximate number as in MailMate's Sources list.

    However, to the upper right of the message panel in Gmail when [Gmail]/Archive is selected, I see "1-100 of 21,000." I can't explain the discrepancy. A bug or glitch on Google's side, something that hasn't been noticed until now because assigning a label to 21,000 messages at once doesn't happen very often?

    I have to admit, I'm getting really frustrated. My goals:

    -- Move away from Google Gmail

    -- Bring my decade of e-mail archives with me. How the heck can I get those old e-mails out of Google? Is it even possible?

    -- Have all my e-mail on my local computer, for backup. I know how IMAP works (I even read the entire O'Reilly book on IMAP cover to cover a few years ago), but I also want the mail locally, especially since there seems to be this other "unavailable" issue, which hopefully will disappear once I'm at RunBox or Fastmail or my ISPs.

  • benny

    benny March 31st, 2014 @ 12:32 PM

    I cannot imagine that marking 21K messages in Gmail hasn't been done before. If I understand correctly then you are also seeing a discrepancy within Gmail as well? I think the left-hand column only counts unread messages. Does that explain what you see in the web interface? (The same is true for MailMate although you can change what MailMate counts in each mailbox.)

    I understand the frustration. MailMate is fully offline which means that if there were no unavailable-issues then you should have a local copy of all messages.

    It is certainly possible to make this work, but I'm not sure what the current problem is. Did you update to the latest test version of MailMate as suggested? (r4132)

  • Meindert

    Meindert April 1st, 2014 @ 08:50 AM

    You're right: the 1,500 were unread messages. When I selected them and marked as read, that number disappeared.

    And to my surprise, MailMate seems somehow to have downloaded all my mail from Gmail for the account that I'm most concerned with. But there're some mysteries. I had 21,000 messages in the Gmail account. Now I have 46,000 messages in MailMate. Wait, checking again, it's dropped to 35,000 now. Sorting by date in MailMate Sources, I don't see any obvious duplications. Also, the very first two messages in the Gmail account (not important ones) are not in MailMate.

    But on the whole, things seem to be working better now. I'l continue to play with it and keep an eye on it for a few days.

    Assuming that I've got things working, do you think it would be a good idea to purge everything from my Mac, reinstall MailMate, make the proper Gmail settings for each Gmail account, and bring everything down again?

    Also, if I switch to someplace like Runbox, will MailMate then upload all the past e-mail to there, or not, or is it controllable by me?

    And if, to save money, I move a few accounts from Google not to a commercial service but back to the ISPs where the domain's website is hosted, would MailMate upload past mail to their IMAP servers, or would that be blocked? Most of my accounts do not have that much in their archives, but I'd like to save it if I could.

    I'm assuming that in general if I have accounts in MailMate and I change the IMAP service (from Gmail), the archives for the accounts will still remain in MailMate, at least, right?

  • benny

    benny April 1st, 2014 @ 11:21 AM

    The numbers can be explained by the fact that Gmail counts “conversations” (threads) and MailMate counts emails. Unfortunately this makes it hard to verify whether or not everything adds up.

    I don't think you'll benefit from fetching everything again, but it's important that all mailboxes are online and the INBOX is in the IDLE state (bold font). No persistent spinners in the mailbox outline.

    When adding a Runbox account then you are in control of what you want to move to that account. Note that uploading messages can also be a slow process. Try to start with small batches of emails to make sure everything behaves as expected.

    MailMate doesn't do anything automatically when you add these other accounts. Just think of it as attaching more hard drives to your computer.

    Not sure about that last question. Don't change the Gmail IMAP account. Add the other IMAP accounts and then move any messages you would like to move from one account to another account.

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