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Bringing over emails (Part 1 of 3): AOL emails into Gmail

Recently, the Gmail Help Community has received quite a few queries on this topic involving AOL, Yahoo!, and Outlook accounts. As an attempt towards making the users more comfortable, this three-part blog aims to explore the various inbuilt Gmail processes through which one can bring over emails from another account over to a Gmail account. In this opening part, we look at how we can bring over emails from an AOL account. There will be follow-up blogs on how to bring over emails from Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts as well.

In Gmail, these are the included methods of bringing over emails from another account:

  1. The POP3 fetch.
  2. Gmailify (using the IMAP protocol).
  3. Import (using the ShuttleCloud API).

    It is worth noting that the AOL account used for testing has 2-step verification enabled. If your AOL account isn't and you would like to do it, here is the help article on how to do it:

    If your Google account also doesn't have 2-step verification enabled and you want to add this extra security verification feature to it (which I always advise other users to do to better secure their accounts), please follow the steps given here:

    Back on topic, all three methods can be initiated from the Gmail settings icon > See all settings > Accounts and Import tab. In fact, POP3 and Gmailify have the same initial steps. So, let's explore those two options first.

    The POP3 sequence begins when we click on the Add an email account link in the Check email from other accounts section.

    Then we enter the email address and in the following screen, choose between Gmailify or POP3 options. We want to first try out POP3. So we select that option.

    Then we enter the password for the AOL username. Here, several things may happen.
    • Entering your regular password may get you the "Connection timed out" error message.
    • Entering an application-specific password (since I have 2-step verification enabled on the account) gets me the following error message even though that box is left unchecked. The fact that AOL only allows POP3 access to email clients is a known issue for some time.

    That was pretty much the end of things with POP3. So, I used the Back button to return to the window where I was offered the choice between POP3 and Gmailify. This time, I chose Gmailify.

    It then took me to the AOL sign-in page, where I was asked to sequentially enter the AOL username, the regular password for that username, and grant the necessary permissions to Gmail.

    That's it! With a click on the blue Agree button, the Gmailify completion confirmation window appears.

    Thereafter, you can check the progress of the linking process in the same place from where you began this process.

    The import process starts from the Import mail and contacts section in the Accounts and Import tab under Gmail settings.

    Clicking on the Import mail and contacts link brings us to this pop-up window where we are asked to first enter the email address (in this case, our AOL username) and the password. 

    The password screen also includes two very important information enclosed within the red rectangle.
    • ShuttleCloud performs the import.
    • The connection during import may be unencrypted.
    If you agree to those, enter the password and click on the Continue button.

    Since my account has 2-step verification enabled, and I entered the regular password, it was rejected with the following error message. This required me to generate an application-specific password for my AOL account (steps included here:, enter it and click on the Continue button.

    Finally, success! I was shown the various Import options. By default, all three options are checked and you can uncheck them based on your requirement. 

    Clicking on the OK button closes the pop-up window. Thereafter, you can follow the progress of the import process from the same Import mail and contacts section where you began the process.

    If you want me to include any other scenarios, please let me know in the comments section and I shall be happy to enhance this article.


  1. Replies
    1. Please take the time to at least put some details in about your issue so I could respond to it. Leaving these one-liners doesn't help me identify or understand your issue; but more importantly, they also doesn't help your cause.

  2. I did everything (using Gmalify for AOL) up through "It then took me to the AOL sign-in page, where I was asked to sequentially enter the AOL username, the regular password for that username, and grant the necessary permissions to Gmail."

    Then GOOGLE comes on and requires I ADD Gmail to my Google account. At this point, there is no option to access an already existing account. If I do enter my existing account info, it tells me it's already taken (of course it is - it's mine.)

    I'm doing all this through Firefox because AOL is so screwy these days.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response.

      Apropos "Then GOOGLE comes on and requires I ADD Gmail to my Google account. " Can you check if you are signed into multiple Gmail accounts, and if you are, sign out of all of them and then sign back ONLY to the account you wish to add your AOL account as a Gmailified one?

    2. Another weirdness - my AOL account received SIX notifications that Google had signed in using my AOL login. ALL while the OTHER google account was the only one signed in on my browser.

      Hmmm, my AOL login is set as "default" in Google. I'll check out how to change that.

      Thanks for the clue!

    3. Logged out of all once again. Did all the steps for Gmailfy - got "You've been Gmailified" !!!

      Great clue you shared!

    4. Thank you for sharing this update. :) I'm happy the issue is resolved for you.

  3. Thanks so much for the suggestion. I did sign-off all Google accounts, and made sure to sign in with just the ONE I want to connect with AOL. I even made sure that was the one and only tab open in my entire browser.

    With POP3, after entering my password, I get the message, "There was a problem connecting to"

    With Gmalify, I don't even get that far. Once again, after "Add Account with Gmalify" and :Agree" to terms, I get "Add Gmail to your Google Account. That page does not accept my current Gmail address.

    Feels like catch-22. I appreciate your kindness to replying :)


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