Gmail IMAP sometimes returns bad retrieval results

I am using python to connect to gmail via IMAP.

When I sample for a bunch of uids, the results sometimes contain a couple of weird ones attached to the end.

This error appears intermittently and starts showing up sometime in the last week or so.

For example, I am sampling like:

>>>import imaplib
>>>conn = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL('')
>>># authenticate etc
>>>conn.uid('fetch', '12,13', '(X-GM-THRID)')


I sometimes get a result like:

>>>['1 (X-GM-THRID 123123123123 UID 12)', 
    '2 (X-GM-THRID 123123123123 UID 13)', 
    '365022 (UID 601722 FLAGS (\\Seen))']


(Line breaks added for reading, ids changed from original, I usually get a lot more than two.)

This is pretty weird. I didn't ask for anything for an additional message. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not. No matter what fields I get, the additional result (I've only seen one or two) never contains them and only contains FLAGS information.

Any ideas why this might be happening?


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2 answers

Earlier this week, the following was posted on the IMAP mailing list:

"As of yesterday [Monday, Oct 7] Gmail now supports changing report flags anywhere we report new / deleted messages (that is, most locations are allowed by protocol, but definitely during IDLE). It's only available for users at the moment, Google Apps users will follow in a week or so if we don't find any problems. "

However, there seem to be problems with the new functionality because today they said they were rolling back:

"We are seeing a few reports about programs that were not expecting additional FETCH responses that we posted on Monday. We are rolling back soon as older versions of a very popular client are having problems (although we do not know this part of things).




Gmail sends you unsolicited updates FLAGS

(because someone deleted the message remotely). This is not in response to your request, but IMAP allows the server to send you any * information at any time. Many servers will keep these unsolicited responses for replies IDLE


, but apparently Gmail doesn't want to wait.

However, until recently (apparently?) Gmail did not send flags updates at all, only EXPUNGE.

*: There are several rules by which responses can be sent when race conditions should be avoided, but this is not one of them.



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