Access Gmail using IMAP from your iPhone 5

Follow these simple steps to setup Gmail to use IMAP on your iPhone.

Google anticipated the growth of mobile devices and PCs, and it added IMAP to Gmail a few years ago. In fact, IMAP support is what pushed me to move my personal and professional email addresses to Gmail and Google Apps.

Here's a refresher about how to setup Gmail using IMAP on an iPhone 5.

Setup IMAP in your Gmail account

Before you get started, you need to make sure that you have IMAP enabled in your Gmail account.

To setup IMAP in your Gmail account:

  1. Login to your Gmail account from your PC
  2. Click Settings to open the Settings page (Figure A)
  3. Figure A

    Gmail Settings page.
  4. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP to open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP page (Figure B)
  5. Figure B

    Forwarding and POP/IMAP page in Gmail.
  6. Select Enable IMAP in the IMAP Access section (the IMAP is enabled status will appear in green)

Setup Gmail on your iPhone

To setup Gmail on your iPhone:

  1. From the iPhone home screen, tap Settings (Figure C)
  2. Figure C

    iPhone Settings screen.
  3. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars... (Figure D):
  4. Figure D

    Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen.
  5. Tap Add Account... (Figure E)
  6. Figure E

    Add Account screen.
  7. Tap Gmail (Figure F)
  8. Figure F

    Gmail setup screen.
  9. Enter your name in the Name field
  10. Type your full Gmail address in the Address field
  11. Enter your Gmail password under Password
  12. Type Gmail in the description field (I always advise people to type in something more descriptive for the email address if you plan to access more than one Gmail address from your iPhone)
  13. Tap Next
  14. Verify Mail is set to On
  15. Set Calendars and Notes to on if you want to sync them via IMAP along with your email
  16. Tap Next

The joy of IMAP, Gmail, and the iPhone

IMAP is a must-have in today's multi-device mobile world, and Gmail's IMAP setting is easy to setup and maintain. IMAP is how I stay on top of email across my iOS, Android, Macs, and PCs.

Do you have other iPhone tips and tricks that you'd like to share with your TechRepublic peers? Share your knowledge and expertise in the discussion thread below.


Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...


My iPhone 5 (iOS 7.1.1) is having a couple of problems. It WILL work with the Gmail app, but NOT with the Mail app. (Go figure, lol!)

I have tried a couple of times with the Mail app and here's what happens: the first time I tried with the Mail app, I got an SSL error - it basically said it couldn't make a secured connection and asked me if it was ok to use the app with an unsecured connection. I said NO!

The second time I tried to use the Mail app, I got an error that said my username and password were incorrect. This error message I don't understand. I mean, if the username and password were acceptable the first time when I got the SSL error message, why all of the sudden are they not ok when the SSL error message is resolved? Also, why are the username and password working on the Gmail app and NOT the Mail app? I'm calling totes bulls**t on this error message!

Bottom line, I just verified as I was typing all of this out - my IMAP settings within my Gmail website account are set up to allow access to my account from 3rd party mail clients, therefore I shouldn't have a problem with accessing the account from my iPhone's Mail app... Correct?

Is there anyone out there that can help me, please? I REALLY would prefer to use the Mail app, as opposed to the Gmail app if possible.




partner_mark , thanks for your post,

Im having the same issues as "smlind" trying to get email on my iphone and BB Playbook. Keep getting error message"" is incorrect". I can sign in to gmail on my laptop no problems.

When you stated to " set it up as an exchange server and sync almost everything" Can you explain how to do that?

I think my problems may have something to do with IMAP and or Pop3 but Im not sure.Are you able to help?

thank you


SO i am trying to do this. my "gmail" app works but i need to add the gmail account elsewhere on the exchange, or add other account in order to sync my gmail calendar with my iphone calendar. and i have enabled imap in my google account settings but for some reason my iphone keeps telling me" the user name or password for "" is incorrect". i don't understand. my username and password are the same as when i login to gmail and they still work when i go online to login. i thought i simply forgot my password changed it. and then realized it's just the iphone that's giving the errors. i can login on my computer to gmail just fine. any ideas on what's the deal is? can you help me trouble shoot? thanks. 


Why not set it up as an exchange server and sync almost everything. Much simpler and more functional. Server name:


Contacts don't seem to sync with this method, how do you include them?


It would have been useful to start the whole item by stating why you think Imap is so compelling .


If you need a blog to show how to connect to a Gmail account, it shows that Apple doesn't care for what is in common usage. [Like (maybe even still now) you need to do multiple conversion steps to go from Outlook Express into Mail.] Common enough that Apple should of found a way to directly import OE mail.


Does IMAP afford you better options?

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