How to Avert Gmail Inbox Full Failure – The Ultimate Guide

We recently had an issue where one of our inboxes was nearly full. So we reached out and did some research to find the best method of reliably backing up a Gmail inbox and clearing it. We found that the best method is with getmail, a Linux utility that fetches mail through IMAP. It is very powerful and flexible, providing a lot of options. There are several different methods as well (outlined below).

Overall, we recommend using getmail. By trying several different approaches, getmail is by far the best. It is a little confusing at first, but not a hard pill to swallow:

How do you install getmail?


sudo apt-get install dovecot-imapd getmail4

Arch Linux:

pacman -S getmail


yum install getmail*

Here are some resources for backing up gmail with Linux:

If you don’t like getmail there are several different options out there: