Look South

By Dave South

The BEST way link Mavericks, Gmail, and iOS 7 to a custom email address

Mavericks Mail broke my favorite method of linking to Gmail. I created a workaround, but it was a poor substitute. Fortunately, today Mavericks mail was upgraded to fix the problem. Now we can go back to the BEST way to set this all up.

The following are instructions on using a custom email address with Mavericks Mail, iOS 7 Mail.app, and Gmail. The result is a lightweight subset of messages on client devices. You use the subset for everyday mail management. Use the Gmail web client for deep searches of the mail archive.

Custom Email Address

The goal is to send and receive email using a custom email address (like john@example.com) through Gmail and all client mail applications. First, set up a domain and an email address that forwards to your Gmail account. Name.com, GoDaddy and other registrars can set this up. Search for “Set up an email address with your custom domain” for helps on setting up the incoming route for you email.

Next, set up Gmail to send mail as your custom email address. Again, lots of people have instructions on how to do this. Search for something like “custom email address gmail”. Set up the email alias in gmail.

From the gmail.com web interface you should be able to send and receive email using your custom email address.

Mavericks Mail Update

The first version of Maverick Mail tried to fix it’s Gmail connection. In doing so, it created a lot of problems. So now there is a fix for the fix. Ensure that you have the very latest version of Mavericks Mail installed. Use Software Update to install Mail Update for Mavericks version 1.0.

Gmail IMAP

We can go back to using Gmail IMAP like before. It’s pretty straightforward.

  1. On gmail.com website click the gear icon (upper-right) => settings
  2. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP
  3. Enable IMAP
  4. Enable Auto-Expunge on - Immediately update the server. (default)
  5. Enable Limit IMAP folders to contain no more than this many messages
  6. Set the limit to 1,000 messages

Remember to Save Changes

Gmail labels

We no longer have to expose “All Mail” to the IMAP interface. So we can limit ourselves to a special set of labels that provide only the messages we need.

  1. Navigate to gmail settings again
  2. Click Labels
  3. Disable Show in IMAP for Sent Mail, All Mail, Spam, and Trash.
  4. Create labels for Deleted Messages and Sent Messages
  5. Enable Show in IMAP for Deleted Messages and Sent Messages
  6. I recommend disabling Chats
  7. It’s up to you if you want Starred or Important

Mavericks Mail

Mavericks Mail needs to be set up as IMAP and NOT GOOGLE. Note, if you use 2-factor authentication (which you should) then create application specific passwords.

  1. Open Mavericks Mail preferences
  2. Select Accounts
  3. Click the plus symbol
  4. Select Add Other Mail Account…
  5. Enter your name, custom email address, and at least one character in the password field
  6. Click Create
  7. When it fails click Next
  8. For IMAP use imap.gmail.com with your username and password
  9. For SMTP use smtp.gmail.com plus username and password

Because we are not downloading “All Mail” this will only take long enough to download the Inbox. Wait a bit and then configure the rest properly.

  1. Go back to Mavericks Mail preferences
  2. Select Accounts
  3. Select the account and go to mailbox behavior
  4. Store Drafts on the server
  5. Store Sent on the server and set to delete when One month old
  6. DON’T store junk messages on the server
  7. Both options should be selected for trash and set to delete in one week

Save these changes.

Also go to the Junk Mail screen and turn it off. We want junk mail handled on Gmail.

iOS 7 Setup

Setting up Gmail on iOS 7 must be done as IMAP, too. This allows your phone to use your custom email address.

  1. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account
  2. Select Other
  3. Then Add Mail Account
  4. Input your name, custom email address and one letter for a password
  5. Select Next and wait until it expands to allow IMAP/SMTP settings
  6. Set imap.gmail.com and smtp.gmail.com like before
  7. Select Next and wait for it to confirm your settings
  8. I leave it set up for Mail and Notes
  9. Select Save

It should automatically set everything up correctly. You can double check if you want.

  1. Select the account you just made
  2. Select the Account again
  3. Scroll to the bottom and select Advanced
  4. Drafts Mailbox should map to Drafts
  5. Sent Mailbox should map to Sent Messages
  6. Deleted Mailbox should map to Deleted Messages
  7. Archive Mailbox should be blank
  8. Move discarded messages to Deleted Mailbox
  9. Deleted Messages remove after one week
  10. Remember to go back Account and select DONE

That should do it.

Usage notes

The DELETE key (and delete icon) will NOT actually delete the message. Instead it labels it “Deleted Messages” in Gmail. All deleted messages will show up on client devices for one week. After that, the label is removed. The message, however, remains on Gmail in the All Mail section.

Junk messages must be handled through the Gmail web interface (or gmail device client). If you receive a spam message, log into gmail through the web and identify the message as spam. Gmail will learn that the message is spam and stop delivering similar messages. Do not bother with managing Junk mail on local devices. Let Gmail do it first. Then the messages are never delivered to you in the first place.

Sent messages will be labeled “Sent Messages” in Gmail. After a month the label is removed. Sent messages still show in All Mail and in Gmail’s own Sent box.

All outgoing email will show your custom email address in the From field. However, recipients can still see your Gmail account. This set up does not hide that you use Gmail. Instead, it offers your custom email address as the preferred address. Most email clients will select that address for continued use.

Ruthlessly manage your email. Delete with confidence. If you EVER need that message back, it’s just a quick search away on Gmail’s web client.