How to fix: Apple Mail not working with Gmail IMAP

Yesterday, I went to Pasadena City College and helped a friend learn how to use her MacBook.

One of the problems she had was that Apple Mail had stopped working with Gmail. It was correctly configured to use IMAP, and it was working in the past, but now new emails were failing to appear. If we deleted and re-added the account, new emails would appear, but we’d be unable to send more than 1 email.

It was as though Gmail was blocking all requests after the first one.

Well, that’s exactly what it was, and some Googling turned up the solution. You need to “unlock the captcha” in order to make continue to reliably work with Gmail. Here are the steps provided on Apple’s discussion boards:

1) Quit
2) Go to
3) Unlock the captcha
4) Launch mail
5) Done!

This worked for us. If Gmail isn’t working with Mail anymore, give this a shot.

7 Responses to “How to fix: Apple Mail not working with Gmail IMAP”

  1. Dave says:

    Thank you!

    That’s been bugging me for the last two weeks. I couldn’t find anything about this in the google help content.

  2. Allison Dey says:

    I just tried this and it didn’t work. My Mail app (2.1.3) has not been collecting mail for two days even though there’s mail at Gmail. I have system 10.4.1 on a Macbook. It has been working perfectly up until two days ago. None of my 4 accounts will receive mail through Mail.

  3. Michael says:

    You have no idea how much this helped. I got a Mac two weeks ago and spent over two hours at the store with the staff trying to figure this out. Thanks a lot!!!

  4. Shiela Dixon says:

    Thank you very much! Fixed my problem which I’ve had on and off for months. Mail not collecting or sending Google IMAP mail for a period, sometimes a whole day, then working ok for a while. Recently it’s been offline as much as it’s been working.

    Frustrating that there has been no notification or documentation that I’ve been able to find.

  5. Hue says:

    THANK YOU x 1,000,000!!! It totally worked. I’ve been cussing up a storm in the past 2 hours trying to figure this out.

  6. Da says:

    Great, it worked perfectly! Thanks

  7. Nat says:

    Thanks sooo much! After a few tries it worked for me.

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