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Long delays with IMAP connections to Google Workspace/Gmail

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hbadorties

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Joined: May 26th, 2005, 6:48 pm

Post Posted September 29th, 2022, 7:37 am

Hello experts,

I am a long-time Thunderbird user. I am currently using these versions of TB on the noted MacOS platforms:
TB 91.13.1 on MacOS 12.6
TB 91.13.0 on MacOS 11.6.8
TB 91.11.0 on MacOS 10.15.7

For several years now my email has been hosted by what is now called Google Workspace (i.e. I pay for this - not the "free" gmail).

I use IMAP for my Inbox, Sent Mail and a few other folders, but I save important mail in a series of local folders. This has worked VERY well for me.

Problem:

Recently, with the IMAP folders, I have found that it takes a VERY long time for TB to retrieve and populate the index/list of emails and I get a spinning bi-coloured blue ball similar to this image. This is true regardless of the number of messages in a folder, even if there are no messages. If I select a different IMAP folder the same delay occurs. When I re-select and return to the one I was just at, the same occurs again.

When these delays occur I see at the bottom left of the TB window, following the the "Account Name" specified in "Account Settings", the text "Sending login information..."

I have deleted any unnecessary emails on the IMAP server, emptied the trash, and compressed the folders.

I experience the same symptoms on three different Mac systems using different MacOS versions and different TB versions. This leads me to think Google has changed something in the manner that IMAP connections work. Of course Google Workspace support says no they have not and recommend a "sledge hammer" approach by telling me to uninstall and re-install/reconfigure TB.

Request:

I would appreciate any comments, insights, or recommendations anyone has which might help me eliminate this delay in populating the index of IMAP mail folders.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted September 29th, 2022, 10:42 am

I only have a couple hundred messages in my gmail (free) inbox but haven't noticed any performance changes. How you tried something like traceroute to see if your ISP has problems connecting to the gmail server?

If you have a laptop you might try seeing if the problem exists if you use a different ISP by using it at a library.

How many messages in the inbox?

What is the maximum number of server connections to cache set to (in the advanced section of the server settings)?

Is there anything that intercepts the connection to the mail server such as a anti-virus scanner or some other security software that might have been automatically updated?

I suggest you add your IMAP account to some other email client and see if it has the same problems. I'm running Windows 11Pro so I use "eM client" to help troubleshoot who is to blame. In your case I'd try Apple Mail.

hbadorties

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Joined: May 26th, 2005, 6:48 pm

Post Posted September 29th, 2022, 11:40 am

Thanks for the reply... a brief response:

Traceroute to imap.gmail.com from Mac's terminal reports it has multiple addresses and picks one. There are some delays/stalls (i.e. * * *) . Doing a traceroute from my ISP's router does not show delays BUT says "over a maximum of 30 hops" but only lists 13 hops. I seem to recall that different devices do not report back to traceroute, so I'm not sure we can rely on this - for example I have no problem reaching google.com with a browser, but a traceroute to google.com stalls at various points.

I'm not able to get to another location to see if behaviour changes with a different ISP.

Number of Messages under "Gmail"
Inbox 193
Sent Mail 74
Trash 518 (yeah, I should empty that)
Important 1631 (seems to be a mailbox google creates over which I have no control, and contains ALL messages)
Other folders have small numbers under 25

Maximum number of server connections to cache is set to "5"

I've not added/updated any intercepts or scanners. I don't have any anti-virus sw on two of the systems.

I will consider trying out another IMAP client and report back when I've been able to do that (it may take me a while).

Do let me know if you have further comments or suggestions...

tanstaafl
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Post Posted September 29th, 2022, 1:32 pm

https://www.reddit.com/r/Thunderbird/co ... mely_slow/ is about 3 months old but mentioned a temporary problem with gmail imap that occurred with both Thunderbird and K-9 that went away on its own. Another user who updated to version 102 had the same situation.

If you log into gmail webmail and go to the settings (cog wheel) you can configure it to hide certain labels such as important. You can also go to inbox -> categories and select primary to stop categories, unless they've recently changed the settings user interface.

Alternatively right click on gmail in the thunderbird folder pane, select subscribe in the context menu and unsubscribe important if you haven't unchecked "show only subscribed folders" in the gmail accounts server settings -> advanced.

hbadorties

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Post Posted September 29th, 2022, 2:27 pm

Thanks for that URL, I will check it out.

Obviously this is not a forum to discuss configuring gmail via the gmail web interface - but I though I ought to respond to your kind suggestion (thanks for that). A long time ago I configured "inbox -> categories" an selected "primary" and the other categories were unchecked - that's not changed.

My TB configuration has been "Show only subscribed folders" under "Server Settings - > Advanced". In the context menu I was subscribed to ALL folders - I just unsubscribed to "Important" (because it seems redundant). It took some minutes for TB to no longer show that folder. Thanks for that hint!

I'll see how it goes.

hbadorties

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Joined: May 26th, 2005, 6:48 pm

Post Posted October 11th, 2022, 10:31 am

I am reporting that the issue seems to be resolved, rather mysteriously I should add.

I cannot tell if the resolution was due to unsubscribing from the "important" folder, or something else.

Thanks for the feedback - but sorry I cannot be more enlightening.

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