I've installed Ubuntu onto my on-the-go laptop. I end up sending and receiving mail often, and sometimes quite quickly with people replying immediately. I have two accounts, one of which is my hotmail (outlook.com) account which I actually use most often and are IMAP connections.

I've tried Geary, Claws, Evolution and now I'm using Thunderbird.

The problem here is that I want to be notified immediately when I get a new e-mail so that I can quickly reply, and I can receive quick replies right away without having to keep pressing "Get messages".

Outlook.com does support push mail notification because I get it on my phone. If I send myself an e-mail, I get instant notification on my phone. However, this is no good when I'm roaming and my data is off, and working from a hotel room, or I'm working in an area that doesn't allow cell phones.

I know that I can set Thunderbird to check every 1 minute, but sometimes I'm literally only online for 2 minutes reading, replying and reading e-mails.


How can I get push mail on ANY Linux client? I've been googling and just can't find an answer for Linux. I would also be happy with a separate notification program that just tells me there's new mail so I can hit "Get Messages".

  • There is no push e-mail. That's not how IMAP works. You get push notifications on your phone, presumably because you've installed an app for Outlook.com and the server supports the push notification API for your phone platform. When you open the app after receiving the notification, it pulls the messages from the server. There are tools which will sit in the background and poll for new mail, to notify you of new messages.
    – dobey
    Jun 3, 2016 at 0:41
  • What tools are there that can do this? I have my accounts setup as IMAP but I still don't get notifications until the next "check mail every" interval. I sent myself a test, and when I got the notification, I sent another. It took 10 minutes to get the next notification (the check mail every x interval).
    – Delorean
    Jun 3, 2016 at 0:57
  • Only IMAP clients which maintain an open connection to the server and support IDLE will receive low latency updates. Anything which polls the server will have a delay up to the poll interval, before seeing any new mail which has appeared on the server. I don't know which tools specifically support IDLE or not.
    – dobey
    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:01
  • Yeah, there is an option in Thunderbird to use IDLE commands, and it is turned on, but it doesn't seem to work. Pretty disappointing that nothing in Linux seems to support this.
    – Delorean
    Jun 3, 2016 at 1:51
  • 1
    Well, then perhaps the server doesn't support IDLE. You shouldn't confuse IDLE with support for push notifications on a phone platform. They are not the same thing, and it has nothing to do with Linux.
    – dobey
    Jun 3, 2016 at 2:19

2 Answers 2


Nylas n1 is worth a try , I gave up on all the other Linux mail clients because of their low grade handling of IMAP disconnection. Nylas processes your mail and pushes it at the client.


Have a look at:

I haven't yet tried these myself, but will be looking to, as my searching found your question, as well as these.

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