Keeping your Sent folder in sync across devices

Keeping your Sent mail folder in sync is a straightforward concept, but unfortunately in practice, many Mail applications work to undermine its simplicity. The way it should work is as simple as this:

  1. You must be using IMAP for your mail on all of your devices.
  2. You must designate a single folder on the server as your Sent folder
  3. You must configure your mail applications to store your sent messages on the server rather than locally and they must all recognize the single Sent folder as their 'official' Sent folder.
When you add your mail account to your mail program, it should automatically configure your Sent folder in this manner. However, in some cases, such as old versions of Apple Mail, it will automatically use a folder called "Sent Messages" instead of "Sent." In other cases, your mail program will default to storing your sent messages locally rather than on the server, meaning you won't have access to them on any other device.
To fix Sent folder syncing issues, check your account settings to ensure that the three items above are accurate. One of your devices must have at least one of those directions incorrectly configured - fix the configuration and your Sent mail will remain synced across all of your devices. You can find the Sent mail folder configuration using the following directions.

iOS5: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Choose Mail Contacts and Calendars
  3. Select the account with which you are having trouble syncing the Sent folder
  4. Under IMAP tap on your Account. (NOTE: If it says POP, then you have to delete the account and re-add it as an IMAP account).
  5. Choose Advanced at the bottom
  6. Under Mailbox Behaviours, tap on "Sent Mailbox"
  7. Ensure that the folder called "Sent" is checked off under the "On the Server" section

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion (Directions should be very similar for previous versions of Mac OS X)

  1. Open Mail and choose the "Mail" menu in the upper left. Select Preferences.
  2. Choose the "Accounts" Tab at the top, then select the account you wish to adjust in the list on the left
  3. Select the "Mailbox Behaviours" tab on the right
  4. "Store sent messages on the server" should be checked. If it is not, check it.
  5. Close the Preferences window and choose to save your changes if prompted
  6. Follow the directions here to ensure you have selected the "Sent" mailbox on the server as the correct place to store Sent messages

Outlook 2007 for Windows

  1. Select the Tools menu, then choose "Account Settings"
  2. Go to the Email Tab if it's not already selected
  3. Select the email account for which you wish to adjust the Sent folder, then choose the "Change" button
  4. Choose the "More Settings" button at the bottom of the newly opened window
  5. Click the "Folders" tab
  6. Select "Choose an existing folder..." if it's not already selected, then ensure that the Sent folder you want Outlook to use for Sent messages is selected in the list.
  7. Click OK to save

BlackBerry 10 OS & Outlook

The BlackBerry 10 OS will auto configure your sent folder for synchronization, however if you're using it with Outlook, you may need force Outlook to Synchronize folders to get things working properly with your BlackBerry 10 device. Instructions for synchronizing your IMAP folders can be found in the Microsoft Office Help Documentation by clicking here.

Other Mail Applications

Look for similar options for controlling the Sent mailbox behaviour in the mail application of your choice. When you find how to do it for your mail program that is not listed here, send over the instructions so we can post them for others to use!

Performance Note

Storing all your sent messages on the server is great for synchronization and easy access from all your devices, but as the Sent folder gets larger, your mail applications will begin to slow down when accessing it. This is even more obvious on mobile devices like the iPhone. We highly recommend creating a "Sent Archive" folder on your primary computer. Every 6 months or 1 year, drag and drop the year-old Sent items into the Sent Archive. Since they're messages from a year ago, you likely won't need to refer to them from your iPhone or other mobile device, but you will still have access to them from your home or work computer (whichever you do the archiving on).

If you do not use mail archives for old emails and your mailbox is massive in physical storage, we will be unable to help you with any performance-related mail issues you may encounter as a result.

Was this answer helpful?

 Print this Article

Also Read

Why are all my mail folders within the Inbox?

This applies to Apple Mail on OS X as well as the mobile Mail application on iPhone, iPod Touch...

Outlook send/receive gives 0x800CCC0F Cannot synchronize subscribed folders error

This bug in Outlook occurs when Outlook doesn't properly test to see whether or not it should...

Why does my SPAM arrive in my Inbox and not the Trash or Junk folder?

Why does my SPAM arrive in my Inbox and not the Trash or Junk folder? Or, how do I filter SPAM...

I added a new account, but cannot login to webmail or retrieve mail on my computer

First, ensure that you did not use any capital letters during the creation of the email address....

I can't delete or move messages on my iPad or iPhone with the Mail app on iOS

If you receive an error similar to 'unable to move to trash folder' while deleting email on any...