The stock email client in Android 4.2.2 and Thunderbird 17 on my computers do not like each other. I’m syncing against an IMAP server. (I control the server.) These are my problems:

• Android puts sent and deleted messages in the wrong folders. I haven’t found out how to change these on the Android side. Also: is there any standard way of informing the client from the server of which folders it expects the client to use for Trash, Junk, Sent, etc? Is only INBOX standardised?

• If I delete an email on Android, the email is still in my Inbox in Thunderbird. If I delete it in Thunderbird, it is also deleted on Android. Both have different opinions about which IMAP folders to use for Trash, but the message should still be moved out of my inbox. What is going on?

• Moving a message removes it from the originating folder on Android but not in Thunderbird. Moving it in Android removes it from the originating folder on Android. Possibly the same issue as the above with Trash.

How can I get email on Android to behave itself? I can deploy fixes on the server if necessary.

  • I'm using Android 4.2.2's stock email client and Thunderbird 17 against an IMAP server and both the clients see the same sent/junk/deleted folders. Since Android (as you noticed) doesn't have any options related to this, it would seem the problem must be with Thunderbird or the server, or with either client being out of sync with the server.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 6, 2013 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


There are standards for this, as in the XLIST command for IMAP, which has recently been superseded by the Special-Use extension of the IMAP LIST command. Gmail supports these, and Fastmail, and mail clients like Thunderbird and Opera, and even Outlook 2013 apparently. The problem with the Android Mail app (at least for me) is that it doesn't understand these commands, and simply creates folders with localized names. In Opera Mail and also in Thunderbird, you can also manually pick the IMAP folders to use for storing deleted and sent messages. So you could choose the IMAP folders that the Android client is already using, don't forget to make these changes to all the mail clients if you have multiple machines accessing that IMAP account. That might help.

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