We have repeatedly explained how convenient it is to use an email client to manage Gmail email, perhaps using the IMAP protocol (see, for example, Change email address, here’s how to do it, Configure Gmail and use the account at its best and Difference between POP3 and IMAP: what changes in the reception of mail).
Most Gmail users, however, continue to use the webmail service considering it easier to use because they are completely exempt from the client configuration and can access the mailbox from mobile devices with the app of the same name: How to use Gmail on Android with other mail accounts.
Not many people know that you can still import other email accounts into Gmail.
By importing other accounts into Gmail, you can make sure that messages are managed using a single tool accessible via the web (the web interface of Gmail, in fact) and that the incoming emails on the various boxes are still separate.
To make sure that Google automatically downloads e-mail arrived on another e-mail account (for example the free accounts offered by various Italian providers), just click on the icon depicting a small gear then choose Settings.
From the next screen, you will have to click on the Account and Import tab and then on the Add your own POP3 mail account link.
Using the following screens, you will first need to set up the account from which you want to import the emails:
Next, specify the user name and password to be used to access the remote POP server, the address of the POP server, and the port to be used.
By checking the Apply label to incoming messages box, you can make Gmail automatically assign a label to messages downloaded from the mail account of the specified provider. This way, you can differentiate between emails that you receive directly from your Gmail account and emails that you download from your other provider’s account.
If you leave the Yes option selected, I would like to be able to send messages like…, you can make sure that Gmail is also able to send emails with the additional account you are importing.
If you leave the Consider as an alias box enabled, the email address you are setting up will be treated as an alias of your Gmail account.
If you prefer not to create a sort of mixture of Gmail account and imported email account, you can disable the Consider as an alias box (more information here).
The above screenshot is the same as the one that appears when you click on the Add another email address of your property link under Send message as.
The web version of Gmail allows you to limit yourself to the configuration of just sending e-mails using an account other than the one in use (instead of downloading incoming e-mail via POP3).
By clicking on Next step, you can set the parameters for sending e-mail through the SMTP server used by the other provider.
As explained in the article Change email address, here’s how to do it, you should always use email accounts that allow the encryption of messages in transit using SSL/TLS encryption protocols.
After clicking Add Account, Google will send a confirmation email to the newly configured email account.
To conclude the procedure for importing the email account into Gmail, simply type in the numeric code received or click on the link in the same message.
Returning to the Gmail settings, in the Account and import tab you can eventually (recommended choice) select the Reply option from the same address to which the message was sent.
In this way, Gmail will automatically set up the sending of the reply emails from the SMTP server referring to the provider that manages the other mail account.
This will avoid exposing the Gmail account publicly by sending replies to messages received on the other account only and exclusively with the corresponding email address.
When the configuration is complete, if you have set up the third party account as described above, the emails belonging to that account will be immediately accessible by clicking on the label shown in the left column of Gmail.
The same emails, however, will also appear in Gmail’s main inbox.