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getmail6 is a flexible, extensible mail retrieval system with support for POP3, IMAP4, SSL variants of both, maildirs, mboxrd files, external MDAs, arbitrary message filtering, single-user and domain-mailboxes, and many other useful features.

getmail is Copyright (C) 1998-2022 Charles Cazabon and others. getmail is licensed for use under the GNU General Public License version 2 (only). See docs/COPYING for specific terms and distribution information.

getmail6 has adaptations to work with Python 3. These changes might still contain some bugs. Please report them at See docs/BUGS for instructions on reporting bugs.

getmail6 will probably not work with Python versions older than 2.7. Use getmail 5.14 with them.


To install:

pip install getmail6

To uninstall:

pip uninstall getmail6

You can install getmail6 in your home directory if you add --user.

If getmail6 is available via your Linux distribution, you better use that.


getmail6 is not a python API. getmail6 provides command line tools:

  • getmail
  • getmail_maildir,
  • getmail_mbox
  • getmail_fetch
  • getmail-gmail-xoauth-tokens

Before using getmail you must configure it. See docs/configuration.txt and docs/getmailrc-examples. An example:

type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever
server =
port = 993
username = <your_email_here>
#password = ... or
password_command = ("pass", "<your_email_here>")

type = Maildir
path = ~/Mail/<your_email_here>/INBOX/

read_all = true
delete = true

Google gmail

For gmail, after having enabled 2-Step Authentication, let google generate an "app password" for you. Then, for the above example, use pass edit <your_email_here> and change to the generate one.

  • Go to
  • If you are signed in, on the left upper corner there is a cogwheel symbol for settings
  • Choose "See all Settings"
  • "Accounts and Imports" tab, then "Other Google Account Settings"/"Security" brings you to
  • Turn on "2-Step Verification" (also known as 2-factor-authentication or 2FA)
  • In "App passwords", generate a password for your device
  • Update this in your password command.

See also:

Oauth2 Privacy Policy

getmail is a native app. See Still, to download your email from gmail to your computer using OAuth2 you need to grant getmail OAuth2 access to the scope, as you would to web apps. Unfortunately, the init step in example 12 in docs/getmailrc-examples has to be repeated regularly. This makes the app password method above a better alternative. Don't forget to remove the use_xoauth2 line, if you switch from Oauth2 to app password.


getmail 5.14 did not come with tests.

There is now a test folder that uses docker-mailserver for black box testing.

This still tests Python 2.7.

Tests are work in progress.


See the HTML documentation for details on setting up and using getmail. It is included in the docs subdirectory, and will be installed in <PREFIX>/doc/getmail-<version>/ (by default).