Leopard: IDLE-ing with Mail

Appleis Mail application supports both POP and IMAP email accounts, and if you check your email from multiple devices, IMAP can be a real time saver. If you donit want to wait for your Mac to check for new messages, you can save even more time -- or waste more time, depending on your perspective -- by letting Mail take advantage of IDLE.

Whatis IDLE, you ask? Itis a protocol that lets an IMAP email server tell your email client when you have new messages instead of waiting until your client app checks. When your email gets the signal telling it that you have new mail, it automatically updates your inbox. Think of it as proactive email checking instead of reactive checking.

Mail in Mac OS X 10.5 support IDLE, and itis easy to see if you are taking advantage of it. Hereis how:

  • Launch Mail.
  • Choose Mail > Preferences, and then click the Account tab.
  • Select an IMAP email account from the Accounts column.
  • If Use IDLE command if the server supports it is checked, the feature is already enabled. If not, go ahead and check it.

Leopardis Mail supports IMAPis IDLE protocol.

If your email server supports IDLE, youill start to see messages arrive in your inbox a little sooner. If it doesnit support IDLE, you wonit hurt anything by enabling the feature.

I leave IDLE support enabled so I donit have to manually check my email whenever anyone on the TMO team sends me a message and the iChats me with "Hey Jeff, check your email."

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