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According to this source, Gmail uses a special implementation of IMAP. In this implementation, Gmail labels become Thunderbird folders. When you apply a label to a message in Gmail, Thunderbird creates a folder with the same name as the label and stores the message in that folder. Similarly, if you move a message to a folder in Thunderbird, Gmail will create ...


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You can also tell gmail itself to not present the relevant folders to the IMAP user (thunderbird) at all. To do this, go to Gmail > Settings > Labels, find the relevant labels, and untick "Show in IMAP".



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