Import emails from multiple IMAP accounts to a central Gmail account
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A server app that uses the IMAP IDLE command to import email from multiple IMAP accounts (from_accounts) to one Gmail account (to_account). The problem with forwarding email to to_account is that if the email isn't directly addressed to the from_account, you can't automatically add a Gmail label to the forwarded messages and if you have Gmail's "Send mail as" configured, it won't automatically send from the right account if you reply to the message. Gmail's Mail Fetcher feature works great, but it checks for new emails infrequently and is limited to 5 accounts. imap-import solves these issues by doing something similar to Gmail's Mail Fetcher, but it uses the IMAP IDLE command to get notified when new messages arrive in from_accounts, so that new emails are imported (usually) within a minute of their arrival. Just set it up once on Heroku (or your own server, with a little more work) and forget about it.


The from_accounts must support an SSL connection and must support the IDLE command. The to_account must be a Gmail account.

Any messages found in the inbox of from_accounts will be imported to to_account. (This is how the app keeps track of which emails have already been imported and which haven't. Any emails in the inbox are assumed to be new messages that need importing.) Transferred messages are deleted, or in the case of Gmail, archived (although you can change this behavior within Gmail's IMAP settings). It is recommended that initially all the inboxes of the from_accounts are empty.

If you want to set it up on Heroku, you must have the Heroku CLI installed and set up.


First run python to setup the account information. Then, to run it on Heroku, run python to get the account passwords (they are stored as Heroku config vars

  • it's the most secure way I could find of storing passwords on Heroku), set up, and start a Heroku app. The app only requires 1 worker dyno, so it can be run for free.

If you don't want to run it on Heroku, you still need to run python first. Then, the app just expects the passwords to be set as environment variables. The password for to_account should be in the environment variable M_TO_PASS, and the passwords for from_accounts should be in M_FROM<index>_PASS where <index> is the index at which that account appears in the accounts.json file for the key m_froms. You can run it with python Any reasonably recent version of Python 2 should work. You probably want to log the output somewhere, and make sure that if ever dies it is restarted automatically.


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