Brett Klamer

Email Sync With mbsync

mbsync is a command line utility for email synchronization. It’s a little arcane, but is fast and has many features. Before using, you will need to create a default configuration file at ~/.mbsyncrc (it’s mandatory to have one). The configuration settings below will create a local copy of your email account without the danger of propagating back any changes.

# Note that whitespace below is important
CopyArrivalDate yes # Keeps the time stamp based message sorting intact.

IMAPAccount ACCOUNTNAME # Account reference name
#Pass       **** # mbsync will prompt for pass if left blank
SSLType     IMAPS # If you need to connect to port 993
SSLVersions TLSv1.2


MaildirStore ACCOUNTNAME-local
Path         ~/ACCOUNTNAME-local/
Inbox        ~/ACCOUNTNAME-local/Inbox
SubFolders   Verbatim

Master   :ACCOUNTNAME-remote:
Slave    :ACCOUNTNAME-local:
Patterns * # Will copy the remote email account as is
Create   Slave
Expunge  Slave
Sync     Pull
MaxSize  100m # Don't download any email greater than this

Before running, create the maildirstore directories. Start synchronizing by running mbsync ACCOUNTNAME from the terminal. After using, ~/.mbsync/ will be created and contain synchronization state files.

More than one account can be synchronized by creating two blocks in the configuration file. Just create a separate section in ~/.mbsyncrc with a different account name. mbsync -a will run synchronization for all channels.

The SubFolders command requires mbsync >=1.3 so you may need to compile from source if your package manager is not up to date.