Why does Thunderbird not download all my mail from GMail?

Saumil March 2, 2011

I have some 30,000+ mails in my GMail account . But when I connect Thunderbird 3.0 to download mails using IMAP, it downloads only 5000 mails (5554 to be exact). I want a complete offline copy of GMail on my laptop.

Can someone please let me know how to solve this?

  1. Sinbad
    May 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Maybe this will help

    "Gmail imposes an unspecified limit on how many messages you can upload during a short amount of time. If you exceed it, you get temporarily locked out of the account. It is not clear yet whether this is actually a bandwidth limit. A similar limit has been reported in the forums for downloading messages. This was primarily observed when offline folders are enabled. In those cases, a large amount of messages was downloaded on initial synchronization or when reindexing an IMAP folder." Quoted from http://kb.mozillazine.org/Using_Gmail_with_Thunderbird_and_Mozilla_Suite

  2. Karen
    July 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    It appears to be possible to get a complete copy of your Gmail downloaded to Thunderbird using IMAP, see this link for more info: http://www.matthewjmiller.net/howtos/backing-up-gmail-with-thunderbird-imap/

    However, I can't vouch for this as I haven't tried it.

  3. Siyadhmon
    June 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    i  have more mails in thunderbird.but i open the thunderbird there is a alert is coming..like...the password is succeed...mailbox is in use...after sometimes just showing the downloading messages...but the messages are not downloaded..please help me for this problem...

    • dedo udrzbar
      July 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

       open your gmail, account settings, go to POP/IMAP settings, and there is something about receivig mails through POP. in my case it was the first option to choose to allow POP for all the messages which has already been downloaded. thunderbird started after to download messages which were missing. I do not know how far you are able to go with this help, but you have got nothing to loose if you try this.

  4. Tina
    March 3, 2011 at 6:29 am


    Fidelis makes a good point here. If you want to download and backup all your eMail locally, you should download them using POP3, not IMAP!

    March 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Hello, as far as I undestand it, Gmail downloads emails in batches, so in your case it might take a while to download all your messages. You can try forcing Gmail to download all your messages by doing the following:

    -- sign in to Gmail
    -- click on settings
    -- open the tab; Forwarding and POP/IMAP
    -- select enable POP for all mail
    -- save changes
    -- open Thunderbird and check for messages

    • saumil
      March 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

      If I use POP3 will it get synced with GMail? ..

      • Tina
        March 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

        No, POP3 won't sync your mail. With POP3 a copy of all your mail will be downloaded to your computer.

        • Saumil
          March 4, 2011 at 4:50 am

          Oh thats a sad thing.... i needed a perfectly synced offline copy ...anyways thx.

        • Aibek
          March 4, 2011 at 11:23 am

          POP 3 is essentially downloads all messages stored in your Gmail inbox. As far as I am aware it won't download deleted or sent messages. If you want a two way sync of your Gmail with Thunderbord IMAP is the only option.

    • Binu Chandran
      July 7, 2011 at 6:25 am

      Thank you very much

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