Digital Sharing for Apple Users: A Take Control Crash Course
by Joe Kissell

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Table of Contents

Sync Email across Devices

Once upon a time, most people used a single computer for email. Your email client would connect to your email server, download all your messages onto the computer, and then delete them from the server. And that was fine because you used only one computing device, so where else would your email messages be?

Nowadays, that approach seems quaint. Most of us use multiple devices to check our email, and we typically expect to see exactly the same messages—sorted into the same mailboxes and with the same status (read/unread, forwarded, replied to, or flagged)—on each one.

If you always use a Web browser to check your email (for example, with a Gmail account), your email is stored only in the cloud—so syncing is irrelevant, and there’s nothing for you to see here. However, if you use a client app on OS X or iOS such as Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, or Thunderbird to check your mail, you’ll probably want to be sure you keep everything in sync.

Even then, if you use IMAP, Exchange, and/or iCloud email accounts exclusively, you need do nothing more than confirm a few settings—these protocols are designed to keep everything in sync for you. If you use POP, you have a harder row to hoe.

Sync Email with iCloud

Sync Settings with iCloud

iCloud can also sync other email-related data across Macs (only), as long as the appropriate checkbox in System Preferences > iCloud is selected:

Sync Email with Google

First, make sure IMAP is enabled for your Google account:

  1. Log in to your Gmail account (using this link or whichever URL you normally use if you have a Google Apps account with a custom domain).
  2. From the gear pop-up menu, choose Settings, and then click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
  3. In the IMAP Access section, make sure Enable IMAP is selected. Leave other settings unchanged.

Then set up the IMAP account in your email client of choice. Use your full Gmail address as the username and the following server addresses:

Sync Email with Exchange