How To Make Gmail and OS X Mavericks Play Well Together

Apple changed the way Mail works with Gmail accounts in OS X Mavericks, and that's proving to be a headache for plenty of people. Luckily, the fix isn't difficult, although dealing with the change is a bit of a pain.

The problem is that to handle Google's non-standard IMAP implementation, Mail users prior to the release of OS X Mavericks needed to disable the All Mail option in Gmail. That workaround was great because it worked, but Mail in Mavericks does a 180 and requires All Mail to be enabled, and that's where the problem starts. If you disable All Mail, Mavericks now causes messages to jump back to where they started, or get duplicated, after they're moved to different mailbox folders.

To stop that from happening, you need to re-enable All Mail. Here's how:

  • Launch your favorite Web browser and log in to your Gmail account
  • Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your email view, and choose Settings
  • Now click Labels
  • Check All Mail under System labels

Enable All Mail in Gmail's settings to mostly fix your Mavericks email headachesEnable All Mail in Gmail's settings to mostly fix your Mavericks email headaches

Now your messages will stay where the belong. As for hard drive space, well, that's a different matter. Previously if you had All Mail enabled, any messages that had duplicate labels in GMail would actually download duplicate copies to your Mac. Now, though, Mail is a wee bit smarter, and it will only store the one copy in All Mail, but will let you see your messages in other mailboxes if you've set them there.

Still, those that disabled All Mail to keep from having all their mail downloaded to their Macs are no longer able to do that. But if your mail is valuable to you, you shouldn't be just leaving it on Gmail's servers -- having a copy on your Mac acts as a bit of a backup. Plus, you know, you have no option now. As we said before, All Mail must be enabled to ensure Mail functions properly.

It would've been great if Apple had found a way to more elegantly handle Google's funky IMAP system earlier, and it would've also been nice if the company had made it clearer that Mail in Mavericks would break the workaround so many people were relying on. This looks like a great opportunity for a third-party email app or plug-in developer. Or, you know, another email service provider entirely.