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Why is my Gmail not receiving emails?

Why is my Gmail not receiving emails?

min read

Have you ever been expecting an important email, but it never comes through? You're not alone. If your Gmail is not receiving emails properly, there could be an issue with your filters, storage, blocked addresses, and more. 

In this short blog post, we’ll cover some common reasons emails don’t show up in Gmail inboxes and what you can do to troubleshoot these issues.

<a href="#common-reasons" class="anchor-link">Common reasons why you're not receiving emails in Gmail</a>

<a href="#internet-connected" class="anchor-link">Your internet isn’t connected</a>

<a href="#email-filters" class="anchor-link">Your filters or rules are sending emails somewhere else</a>

<a href="#gmail-storage-full" class="anchor-link">Your Gmail storage is full</a>

<a href="#blocked-address" class="anchor-link">You previously blocked an address</a>

<a href="#pop-imap-settings" class="anchor-link">Your POP and IMAP settings aren’t correct</a>

<a href="#mx-records-setup" class="anchor-link">Your domain’s MX records aren’t set up</a>

<a href="#iphone-mail-app" class="anchor-link">Your iPhone Mail app isn’t connected</a>

<a href="#change-google-password" class="anchor-link">You changed your Google password</a>

<a href="#gmail-issue" class="anchor-link">Gmail has an issue</a>

  • <a href="#troubleshooting-tips" class="anchor-link">Other troubleshooting tips</a>

<a href="#streak-crm" class="anchor-link">Manage your Gmail inbox (and CRM) like a pro with Streak</a>

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Why would my Gmail not receive emails?

There are a dozen moving pieces behind the near-instantaneous process of delivering emails. Usually, everything works fine, but that’s not always the case. 

Your inbox could be full, and therefore turning away new messages. Or maybe you’ve got a forwarding setting turned on that’s redirecting incoming emails to another inbox. Sometimes emails don’t come through because you’ve previously added that sending email addresses to a blocked list. And on rare occasions, Gmail’s servers could be down.

As you can see, there’s a laundry list of things that could prevent you from receiving emails. But finding the right solution depends on where you’re seeing the problem. For example, if the Mail app on your phone isn’t getting Gmail messages, then there’s an issue with your phone’s connection. If you aren’t receiving messages from certain senders, you’ll want to check your filters or blocked addresses. If you’re using a business email address in Google Workspace vs. a personal email address, that adds another layer of complexity. 

In short, Gmail is a powerful email platform with many ways to customize the flow of messages. But that means you need to be all the more aware of what you’re doing as you change settings under the hood.

9 reasons why you're not receiving emails in Gmail

Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why your Gmail might not be receiving emails as you’d expect.

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1. Your internet isn’t connected

It sounds simple, but this could really be the whole issue. Your email relies on live access to Gmail’s servers. If your internet goes out, your device won’t be able to pull new emails from the servers.

In some cases, you can have a perfectly fine wireless connection in your home or office, but the modem can’t communicate with the server. To troubleshoot, you can try restarting the modem. You can also use another device, like your phone, to check for internet outages with your internet service provider.

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2. Your filters or rules are sending emails somewhere else

If you're not receiving emails in Gmail, it's also possible that you have filters that send emails somewhere else. A filtered message can bypass your inbox and be sent to another address or folder that marks it read. Filters can automatically sort incoming messages based on criteria you've set. You can create rules in Gmail to customize your email flow, but it’s important to be precise.

For instance, if you've created a filter to archive emails from a specific sender, those emails won't appear in your inbox; they'll go straight to the Archive folder. Similarly, if you've set a filter to mark messages as read or apply a label, those emails might bypass your inbox entirely. 

How to check your Gmail filter settings on desktop

  1. Navigate to settings in Gmail by clicking the gear icon, and clicking See all settings.
  2. Select Filters and blocked addresses.
  3. See if you have any filters set, and make sure they have the correct parameters.
A screenshot of the Gmail filter settings

One important note: In rare cases, you may find a filter or two that you didn’t set up. This can happen if you use certain email productivity apps that claim to “unsubscribe” you from marketing emails. In reality, many of these apps create a filter for marketing emails and mark them as read in another folder within Gmail. Even if you eventually delete the email productivity app, the filters might still be in your Gmail account.

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3. Your Gmail storage is full

When your Gmail storage reaches its maximum limit, incoming emails are blocked because there is no space left to store them. You probably don’t need all those attachments from 2009 in your inbox, so don’t be afraid to delete old messages.

As a Gmail user, you are allotted 15 GB of free storage shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Once this quota is exceeded, any new emails sent to your address will be returned to the sender with a notification that your inbox is full, preventing you from receiving further emails until you free up space or purchase additional storage.

You can check your Gmail storage to see if you’ve reached your data limit or if you’re getting close. Plus, at the bottom of your personal Gmail inbox, you’ll see a gray bar (like the one below) that shows how much of the 15 GB you have left. Click on that to see a detailed breakdown of your usage, and consider deleting old emails, attachments, or files in bulk to claim more space.

A screenshot of a Gmail storage indicating that 86% of the storage is used

Want to learn even more about optimizing your Gmail storage? Read our guide about deleting archived emails to free up space in your Gmail inbox.

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4. You previously blocked an address

It’s possible you previously blocked an email in Gmail and now want to receive messages from them again. Blocking a sender's email address causes all future messages from them to go directly to your spam folder.

How to check which addresses you’ve blocked on desktop

  1. Navigate to settings in Gmail by clicking the gear icon, and clicking See all settings.
  2. Select Filters and blocked addresses.
  3. Note any blocked addresses on the page.
  4. Unblock addresses one at a time or in bulk if needed.

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5. Your POP and IMAP settings aren’t correct

POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) services allow you to access Gmail messages within other email clients. If your POP or IMAP settings are incorrect, your email client can't communicate properly with Gmail's servers or consistently retrieve emails. With wrong server addresses, port numbers, or security protocols, your client won't authenticate or connect. 

There are two sides to this issue. Gmail automatically enables POP and IMAP, so you could run into issues if you had changed the default settings in the past. 

How to access your POP/IMAP settings

  1. Navigate to settings in Gmail by clicking the gear icon, and clicking See all settings.
  2. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
A screenshot of the mail POP/IMAP settings

If your POP and IMAP connections are both enabled and you haven’t changed the default settings, Gmail should work with other clients. But if your other email client isn’t receiving the connection, you’ll need to take a closer look at the settings in the third-party client you’re using.

Be aware that Google will retire the option to disable IMAP for personal users in June of 2024. At that point, IMAP service will always be on.

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6. Your domain’s MX records aren’t set up

MX (Mail Exchange) records direct your domain's email to your Gmail Workspace account. In other words, this is what allows you to use Gmail Workspace with your business domain and have a professional email address.

By pointing these records to Google's mail servers, you ensure that incoming emails are correctly routed to your Gmail inbox.

Your MX records may take up to 48 hours to come into effect on a new domain name. So if you just created a custom email domain and a new Google Workspace account, don’t fret if it isn’t working right away.

How to set up (or reconfigure) your MX records with Google Workspace

  1. Open the Google Workspace setup tool, which is only accessible from a Google Workspace admin account.
  2. In a new tab, login to your domain registrar.
  3. Find your domain's DNS settings, which might be called Mail settings, Advanced settings, or DNS management in the admin panel of your domain registrar.
  4. Clear any non-Google MX records.
  5. Create a new MX record. (Google offers plenty of help and guidance within the set-up tool for this.) 
  6. Save the new record.
  7. Click Activate Gmail in the Google Workspace tool.

As you can see, this is complicated, but Google breaks it down even further here. Google also reiterates that it can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days for the MX records to take effect. They are broadcasting the change to the entire internet, after all.

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7. Your iPhone Mail app isn’t connected

If you recently got a new phone or just hard reset your device, you’ll likely need to connect your iPhone Mail app again to start receiving emails correctly and consistently.

How to connect your iPhone Mail app to Gmail

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Depending on your iOS version, tap Mail > Accounts > Add Account, or tap Passwords & Accounts > Add Account.
  3. Tap Google.
  4. Then sign in using your Gmail or Google Workspace.
  5. Now you can use and open the Mail app.

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8. You changed your Google password 

At first read, this makes no sense, right? This could only be a reason you’re no longer receiving Gmail messages if you use another email provider, like Outlook or Yahoo, by signing in with your Gmail credentials. If you change your Google password, you’ll likely have to sign in to your other email provider again with your new credentials to start seeing your messages appear again.

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9. Gmail has an issue

This is a rare occurrence, but it happens once in a blue moon. It’s possible for Google to experience an outage of certain services, and you just have to sit back and wait if this happens. You can use this page at Downdetector to see if others are also noticing that Gmail is down.

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Other troubleshooting tips

If Gmail still isn't delivering messages to your inbox, try sending a test email to yourself. This can determine if the issue is with sending or receiving emails. 

If that doesn't work, switch to a different browser or device, as the problem might be specific to the software or hardware you're currently using.

And if you're still facing issues, log out of your Gmail account completely, and then log back in. This can often reset your session and resolve temporary glitches. It’s trite but true: It still helps to turn technology off and back on again as you’re working to solve a problem.

<div class="anchor-wrapper"><div id="streak-crm" class="anchor-target"></div></div>

Manage your Gmail inbox (and CRM) like a pro with Streak

If you’re using Gmail with an external CRM system, keep in mind that resetting your Gmail credentials and doing some of the troubleshooting we outlined above can temporarily stop the flow of prospect conversations into your CRM — especially if your Google Workspace admin isn’t also responsible for the CRM connection. Plus, some CRM platforms link with Gmail through IMAP connections, and these can be tricky to set up.

Luckily, you can skip all of that hassle with Streak, the CRM for Gmail. Streak is a Gmail extension that equips users with powerful email tracking and mail merge capabilities. What sweetens Streak even more is how you don’t have to worry about pushing email conversations to another server because everything happens within Gmail. With Streak, you can track prospects and collaborate with teammates, all without changing windows.

Ready to try it out?Add it to your Gmail for free; it only takes 30 seconds to set up.

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