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Setting Alpine up for Gmail

This is based off the guide I used from here:

So, I can't exactly take credit.

The guide as written assumes an arch linux enviroment, but as near as I can tell that doesn't matter past getting alpine installed. So, I'm going to go with the idea that you, hypothetical reader, have gottel alpine installed.


Now that you've installed alpine, run it for the first time. It should pop up with a screen that only shows up the first time. Press E to close it. Next type Setup -> Lists -> Add. (Just type the bold letters, if you hadn't figured that out.)

For the nickname, put whatever you want. I used "gmail". For the server, type:

Then, use ^X to save. It'll ask you for your password. Type it in. If you use 2 factor authentication, you'll need to make an app password.

Once you've set all that up, hit E to exit setup.


I should interject here to note that I wasn't able to log in without turning on two factor authentication. Given this guide was written in 2014 and changes had been made to Google in the middle of 2022 there being some small hitches isn't surprising.


Turn on two factor authentication and make a per-app password:

Set up two factor authentication as per instructions on screen. Then it will give a screen for per-app passwords. tell it to set up mail, and for 'device' I selected other and wrote down 'Command-Line Mail'. It is worth noting that google will not allow you to review or recover this password, only delete it. So when it gives you your password, copy it into notepad, xed, nano, or whatever until you're finished here. You have no say in what the password is, so memorizing will be a chore. I recommend lettign alpine remember the password with steps from further in this guide, and you will need This password to log in through alpine rather than your normal gmail password.


Next, you'll want to finish configuring it.

Type Setup -> Configure to enter the configuration menu.

You'll want to change the following values:

  • SMTP server:
  • Inbox Path:
  • When you change your inbox path, it'll ask you what inbox folder you want. Just type "INBOX".

Hit E, and you're all done!

If you want alpine to remember your password, just execute:

touch .pine-passfile

on the command line. Next time you start pine, it'll ask you for you password. Once you enter your password, it'll ask you if you want to save it. Answer yes, and alpine won't bother you about you password again!


Again, use the password from the above per app authentication setup, not your normal google password.

After you enter that password, alpine will want to set up a vault password that you'll have to type in whenever you want ot check your mail. Set it to whatever you please but make this one memorable. Else you'll have to delete the file you just created, go into google's app authentication page and delete the password it has on file (since it won't let you view it,) and start over with a new password. It's a headache nobody wants, but people breaking into other people's things, bots, and so forth are why we can't have nice things.

I hope this has helped you out, as it's helped me set alpine up.