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How To Combine All Your Email Addresses into One Gmail Inbox

Gmail isn’t just a typical webmail system — it’s a full-fledged email client that can consolidate all your email addresses in one place. Get all your emails in a single Gmail inbox and send emails from any address.

Whether your other email accounts are also Gmail addresses or not, Gmail has you covered. Between email forwarding and Gmail’s Mail Fetcher and Send As features, Gmail is a capable email client.

Email Forwarding

Forwarding ensures email reaches your main inbox immediately. If your email service doesn’t have a forwarding feature, don’t worry — you can use Gmail’s Mail Fetcher to fetch mail over the standard POP3 protocol (see the next section.)

Each email system has a different way of setting up forwarding. If your other email account is also a Gmail account, go into Gmail’s settings, click over to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab and click Add a Forwarding Address.

You’ll be prompted to enter your main email address. Once you have, you’ll receive a confirmation link at your main email address. Click it to confirm that you own your main account.

After confirming, you can use the Forwarding options on your other account to forward all email to your main email address. Make sure you click the Save Changes button after.

Mail Fetcher

No forwarding feature? No problem, as long as your email account supports the standard POP3 protocol. Just go into the Accounts and Import section in Gmail’s settings and click the “Add a POP3 mail account you own” link.

Enter the email address of your other email account.

You’ll have to provide the mail account’s POP settings. You can get this information from the other email service.

If you’re using the Mail Fetcher feature, you won’t get emails immediately. Gmail will automatically check your POP3 account more often if you get frequent emails, but you’ll still have to wait.

To get around the waiting, enable the Refresh POP Accounts feature in the Labs tab on Gmail’s settings pane. This lab gives you a Refresh button in Gmail, so you can check your POP accounts immediately. (As with all Labs features, this feature could be removed at any time.)

Send As

Getting all your emails into one inbox is only half the battle. Once you have, go into the Settings screen on your main email address, click the Accounts and Import tab and use the “Add Another Email Address You Own” link.

You can add any email address you own, even if it doesn’t support the SMTP protocol. You’ll probably want to uncheck the Alias box. If you leave it checked, people will see your primary email address when you email them from another email address.

If you add a Gmail address, all you’ll have to do is click the Send Verification button. You’ll get an email with a link you’ll need to click — it should appear in your main inbox now that you’ve set up forwarding.

If you add a non-Gmail address, you’ll probably want to provide its SMTP server information — you can get this information from the other email service. When you use SMTP, Gmail sends the email through the other account’s email servers. If you use the Send Through Gmail option, Gmail will send emails through Gmail’s servers and the recipients will also see your primary email address.

Once you’re done, you can click the From box while composing a message to select an email address. When you reply to a message sent to one of your other email addresses, Gmail automatically selects the appropriate email address.

You can specify your default email address from the Accounts and Import settings pane.


You could also use Google’s multiple sign-in feature if each email address was a Gmail one, but that still leaves you with multiple inboxes to switch between. It only speeds up the switching.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 02/17/12

Comments (24)

  1. elman

    Does not work for yahoo.

  2. Gonzalo Novoa

    I’ve been using this methods for a while, but I’ve been wondering what SMTP settings would you use if you’re using your own domain email address through Google Apps?

  3. KB Prez

    I have a Gmail account, but there is no way I will give Google my other email addresses. They have no respect for privacy. This morning they admitted they have been bypassing user privacy settings in order to track web browsing on iPhones.

  4. Dantv

    ARE YOU CRAZY? What’s wrong with all you geeks? Google is the greatest spyware company EVER! They give all that software candy for free in order to track you! I thought geeks especially would realize this and stay the heck away!

  5. Dantv

    Exactly KB PRES!

  6. K@RiS

    Nothing beats having your own domain and email address, use it and give it out wisely so u dont get too much spam is all!

  7. SteveinSC

    This method WILL work with yahoo mail. But, you have to sign up and pay for the premium service. Hey, it’s only $20 per year. It’s got a couple other neat features too.

  8. SteveinSC

    I better explain better! I meant that you would have to sign up for yahoo’s premium email service. Then, you can have gmail (or Thunderbird, Live Mail, Eudora, etc) as your email client. All email sent to you@yahoo.com will show up in your gmail inbox.

  9. Christina

    This is a very long process just to aggregate email.

    There is a simple web app that does email very well (and handles almost any email account), and also syncs with Google Calendar and Evernote.

    Website: http://www.iqtell.com

  10. EL

    I set this up to send mail from a second gmail address, and my emails arrive in people’s Outlook as “a@gmail.com on behalf of b@gmail.com“. How can I fix this?

  11. Chris Hoffman

    @KBPrez & Dantv

    The truth is that, if you have multiple Gmail addresses, Google already knows they’re your other addresses. You might as well connect them to the same account and save time — I only have Gmail and Google Apps addresses linked up here

    @elman

    Yahoo is obnoxious and restricts their features to paying customers. You can try clicking Import Mail and Contacts under Accounts & Import in Gmail. It will keep checking for new mail for the next 30 days, but you’ll have to go through the process again every 30 days. Not ideal. But the best you can do without paying.

    @Gonzalo Novoa

    You can use the standard smtp.gmail.com with Google Apps accounts: http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=78799

    @EL

    I wish I could help you. I started noticing that problem the other day. Google’s official help says that most mail clients won’t show this, but Outlook will.

    You can get around this by specifying an SMTP server, but Google won’t allow you to specify an SMTP server if you’re linking up a Gmail address. Google needs to fix this on their end.

  12. KB Prez

    @Chris, I only have one Gmail address. My primary address is with my ISP.

  13. alialegend

    Great! now they can read ALL your email and track ALL your movements with their Google phones read all your text messages and with browser code hacks that they can get to all your browsers on Iphones and other cell phones. Wake up people Googles new terms and conditions that will be implemented March is nothing but a tracking tool. This comany is becoming THE big brother and I would not be surprised if they are supplying out government with tracking info. What FOOL would actually use this service???!

  14. Sarah Price

    Just wanted to stop by to say nice post, Chris!

    Regarding sending mail as another Gmail address and “on behalf of,” yes, that’s something we’d need to change on our side. We know about the feature request but don’t have a solution at this time. We’re definitely aware of it, though.

    – Sarah Price, Gmail Community Manager

  15. Chris Hoffman

    @Sarah Price

    Thanks a lot! I’m honored.

  16. miry-mir

    hotmail.com better bigger safer + additional addresses

  17. Douglas Howard

    Sounds good. how do I print off facebook?

  18. Anonymous

    ARE YOU CRAZY?!

    I know Google has a motto of “do no evil” but they just can’t help themselves! Here’s just the latest in their long history of questionable behavior:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/02/16/how-google-tracked-safari-users

    So given the history of subversive spying and privacy invading techniques that Google continues to come up with – to say nothing of their recent outright “policy” re-shuffling – I don’t think I’d use Google for anything more than I have to. I don’t even use their wonderful Chrome junk simply because I don’t appreciate Google treating me like some kind of sheep being offered up for slaughter to the advertising industry. And that’s just what we KNOW about Google.

    I can’t urge you strongly enough to stay away from Google as much as you can. Think of them as a necessary entity that is plagued with herpes! They may be nice people too. But you probably don’t want them touching you any more than you need them to.

  19. sceptical geek

    it seems the concensus from comments made here is “don’t trust google any further than you can throw them ” give them the widest birth possible and certainly NEVER use any of their email services and regulalry delete cookies if you use their browser. The same could be said about facebook too, in fact all big american corporations will sell you down the river, STAY AWAY !

  20. Leida

    This article help me. Thanks! Very nice!

  21. Susan

    I suppose that I must be an exception here in the comments section. I trust Google to do the right thing and I don’t think their new policy is bad. I like Google and I love their services and I shall continue to use them. I don’t do anything on-line that I have to keep so hush-hush nor am I so paranoid to think Google is a devious snooper! To those who’ve written here that they don’t trust Google, then don’t use any Google service. Don’t use Facebook either or any other popular social site, I presume, because THEY might be following and recording your business, too! I use Facebook but I use it wisely and I watch WHAT I post and HOW I post it. Same goes for my Twitter account and my Google+ account and other Google services that I use.

  22. jer

    No thanks. Google is evil!

  23. Harvey

    @elman

    You can use POP for Yahoo, through a few tricks without paying for Plus. Some regions offer POP for free, all you need to do is change your region to Asia. There’s a few guides on the web.

  24. Frank

    Coriga eutignit motipech Google natiwun Microsoft.

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