Java – How to download all emails with attachments from Gmail


How do I connect to Gmail and determine which messages have attachments? I then want to download each attachment, printing out the Subject: and From: for each message as I process it.

Best Solution

Hard one :-)

import email, getpass, imaplib, os

detach_dir = '.' # directory where to save attachments (default: current)
user = raw_input("Enter your GMail username:")
pwd = getpass.getpass("Enter your password: ")

# connecting to the gmail imap server
m = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL("")
m.login(user,pwd)"[Gmail]/All Mail") # here you a can choose a mail box like INBOX instead
# use m.list() to get all the mailboxes

resp, items =, "ALL") # you could filter using the IMAP rules here (check
items = items[0].split() # getting the mails id

for emailid in items:
    resp, data = m.fetch(emailid, "(RFC822)") # fetching the mail, "`(RFC822)`" means "get the whole stuff", but you can ask for headers only, etc
    email_body = data[0][1] # getting the mail content
    mail = email.message_from_string(email_body) # parsing the mail content to get a mail object

    #Check if any attachments at all
    if mail.get_content_maintype() != 'multipart':

    print "["+mail["From"]+"] :" + mail["Subject"]

    # we use walk to create a generator so we can iterate on the parts and forget about the recursive headach
    for part in mail.walk():
        # multipart are just containers, so we skip them
        if part.get_content_maintype() == 'multipart':

        # is this part an attachment ?
        if part.get('Content-Disposition') is None:

        filename = part.get_filename()
        counter = 1

        # if there is no filename, we create one with a counter to avoid duplicates
        if not filename:
            filename = 'part-%03d%s' % (counter, 'bin')
            counter += 1

        att_path = os.path.join(detach_dir, filename)

        #Check if its already there
        if not os.path.isfile(att_path) :
            # finally write the stuff
            fp = open(att_path, 'wb')

Wowww! That was something. ;-) But try the same in Java, just for fun!

By the way, I tested that in a shell, so some errors likely remain.



Because mail-box names can change from one country to another, I recommend doing m.list() and picking an item in it before"the mailbox name") to avoid this error:

imaplib.error: command SEARCH illegal in state AUTH, only allowed in states SELECTED