How do I use Pine or Alpine with G Suite?

Tags Email secure

This article provides instructions on how to install Alpine, formerly Pine.

Alpine Download

Alpine downloads are available at:
Once you have Alpine installed, you should be able to start the application by entering alpine into your Terminal prompt. You’ll see the welcome screen. Go ahead and hit return and let the creators know you’re using Alpine.
Alpine 2.20 welcome screen
Now to get Alpine configured to work with your Gmail, select Setup (S) and then CollectionList (L). You’ll see a screen like the one below:
Alpine 2.20 Folder Collection Edit screen
You can put whatever identifier you want in the Nickname field. The most important field to configure is the server information. As you can see, you need to reference the gmail server in a very particular way:
Once you’ve done that, you’ve completed the most difficult part of the Alpine configuration process. 
It is advised to leave path blank as otherwise, Gmail folders may not show up properly. Now tell Alpine you’re ready to eXit/Save by hitting ctl-X and you’ll be prompted for your Gmail password. Go ahead and enter it so that Alpine can test the connection. (Later you can change your settings to make Alpine remember your password or you can go with the default and aways be prompted).
When Alpine first attemtps to connect to the Gmail server, you are likely to get an error. Gmail is going to give you a security warning saying that it blocks applications which is considers to be “less safe." Google does not quite define what these categories of “safe” and “less safe” mean, but it’s likely that the reason Alpine is considered “less safe” is because you can change the account password from the application. Whatever the actual reason, you will have to make the call about whether to let your Google account allow “less secure apps” in order to use Alpine.
If you choose to allow it, you will need to go to your Google account settings:
My account > Device activity and notifications > allow less secure apps
Once you’ve enabled “less secure apps,” Alpine should be able to connect.
However, if one of the biggest advantages of Alpine to you is that it’s faster to flag unimportant email for deletion as compared with the Gmail web interface, then there’s one more Gmail setting you will probably want to change.
In your Gmail settings, (not your Google Account settings as above!) look for the Forwarding and POP/IMAP section. Now turn Auto-Expunge to off and enable Move the message to the Trash. Lastly, go the Labels tab in the Gmail settings and chose hide the All Mail folder from IMAP.
What this does is allow Alpine’s delete function to move emails to the Trash folder where Gmail will eventually expunge them for you. If you don’t do this, every time you (D)Delete an email in Alpine, all you’ll really be doing is removing all of Gmail’s labels from that message. What this means is that you’ve “archived” it in Gmail-terms by relegating it to only existing in the “All Mail” folder. If you like Gmail to store a copy of every email you’ve ever received, then leave this alone. You can learn more about how this all works at Google Product Forums.
Once you have finished with all the unintuitive Gmail settings, there’s just one more bit in Alpine that you have to configure, and that’s the server for outgoing email messages.
In Alpine, select Setup (S) > Config (C). Look for the SMTP Server(for sending) field and hit C to edit the field, or Change Value in Alpine lingo. Now, much like before, add your Gmail server path in the following way:
Exit setup to save and there you go! Alpine should be able to see all your Gmail folders. You can now check your Gmail with Alpine, send emails from your Gmail with Alpine, and (most importantly to me) easily flag unwanted messages for deletion and sent them to your trash folder. All from a console-based application. No web-GUI’s need apply!
Alpine 2.20 Folder List screen
Spend some time getting to know Alpine and see if you don’t find the simplicity and speed of a text-based email application appealing.


Article ID: 465
Fri 1/15/21 5:46 PM
Wed 6/1/22 1:53 PM