IMAP and Syncing read/unread status

Hi everyone,

I know there are tons of threads about IMAP and Email Clients, and I know that because I looked through many of them to solve this problem.

I use Thunderbird on my PC, and access email with the Mail app on my iPhone. Mail that I read on my iPhone shows up in my Thunderbird and webmail inboxes as read; no problem.

However, mail that I read in Thunderbird is “read” in the webmail inbox, but not on the iPhone. The status doesn’t change even if I tell the phone to update my inbox.

There is no problem sending or receiving mail, but this little bug is very inconvenient as I need to know the status of my emails on the go. Are they read, unread, replied-to? Who knows?!

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Here are the settings I have in place on the iPhone:

SSL - Off
IMAP Path Prefix - INBOX
Server Port - 143
S/MIME - Off

SSL - Off
Server Port - 587

I’ve been using my iPhone with dreamhost mail since the first iPhone was released in 2007 and don’t have this problem.

Here are the settings I use:
SSL - On
Authentication: password
IMAP Path Prefix - /
Server Port - 993
S/MIME - Off

SSL - On
Server Port - 587

While the SSL/port settings should have no effect on the behavior you’re describing it’s better to use SSL wherever you can, and you can at dreamhost.

The setting that may in fact have bearing is the IMAP path prefix, which I have never changed and always used the default which is /

Another note that shouldn’t effect your case with the inbox, but is nice to know about: The “mailbox behaviors” section of the settings can be configured to better work with dreamhost by setting the server folders rather than folders on the phone itself:
Drafts Mailbox: Drafts
Sent Mailbox: Sent
Deleted Mailbox: Trash

Thanks for the input, LakeRat! Your advice helped me rethink the priority of my settings.

I seem to have it working properly with these settings:

iPhone Incoming:
SSL - On
Authentication: Password
IMAP Path Prefix: INBOX (/ was taking a long time to recognize my folders, plus the wiki suggests INBOX so stuck with it)
Server Port: 993

Authentication: Password
Server Port: 587

Thunderbird Incoming:
Security Setting: SSL/TLS
Authenticatoin: Password
Server Port: 993

Message Storage>Advanced>
IMAP Server Directory: INBOX
Max Server Connections: 4

Security Setting: STARTTLS
Authentication: Normal Password
Server Port: 587

I guess I needed to be sure that the settings I have that work for Thunderbird must also work for the iPhone and vice versa. Originally, I had troubles with the secure connections on the iPhone, but everything is working very well now.

Perhaps the IMAP Path/Directory is the most important setting to match; but I’m not going to experiment with “/” now that I have things working well.

I’m very disappointed with dream host!!!

I’m just having problems with my new domain hosted by DREAMHOST!!!

I sent many emails to the people of technical help and always the same response, that the problem is my iPhone and iPad

Right now, as I’m leaving this message, I just read all the new emails on My iPhone and in my iPad (where I’m leaving this) I see that messages as unread!!! I performed for the last weeks the prosecutes recommended buy still the same but the most important and rare is that this happen sometimes I the iPad, and sometimes in the iPhone…

If I read in the laptop, then I see the iPhone and just some of them are marked as read, yesterday I noticed that had 9 unread, ALL FROM THE ACCOUNT HOSTED BY DREAMHOST and could see that the emails are so,me a few minutes between them!!!

Is important to say that I just contracted about 2 or 3 weeks dream host and this is happening since the beginning

I don’t know what to do because I configured the IMAP way because I want to use just like I’m using my other 3 accounts of email AND JUST THIS ONE HAS THIS PROBLEM, the other works perfect!!!
I just performed backwards DAMN!!!

I read 2 emails in the iPad, and now see in the iPhone and is marked as un read!!!
This is a crap!!

This is a known problem. I have been complaining about this issue since Apple released iOS 4.0. It was in that release that their mail client started using a new protocol called CONDSTORE, and the dreamhost IMAP servers have a bug in their implementation of CONDSTORE. CONDSTORE is a feature which is supposed to make it a lot faster to synchronize your email between devices.

After dreamhost blew me off repeatedly I went to Apple to ask them to explain what the issue was. I sent them all my email logs and they explained it in GREAT detail to me, so much so that I was able to search the internet for a bug in the dovecot imap server condstore implementation, and sure enough I found that such a bug existed and that it had been fixed.

I explained all this to Dreamhost during November and December of 2012, and they wrote back to me and thanked me profusely, and also said that the fix I pointed them to has been confirmed and verified.

Since then I have sent them emails routinely asking them when they plan to deploy this fix but all I ever get back is “Top minds are working on it” (you get the idea).

So it’s utterly a joke that this 4+ year old bug, which has had a solution KNOWN to dreamhost for 2 years, is still impacting the increasingly HUGE number of people that use iOS and Dreamhost.

And meanwhile, Apple has ported the IMAP CONDSTORE implementation to Mac OS X as well, so things get out of sync on your main computer as well.

And the reason this doesn’t happen with your gmail account (in case you’re wondering): gmail servers do not implement CONDSTORE.

Which implies, of course, that Dreamhost could have easily fixed this problem by using the SAME VERSION of their current server with just the CONDSTORE implementation disabled. Even that appears to be too much for them.

I am commenting on this thread today because I have been searching the internet for good alternative to dreamhost. I’ve reached my limit.
Just in case you don’t believe me, here’s the more important email from dreamhost during my exchange with them:

  • After reading this response, please consider visiting
  • the survey below to comment on its quality. Thanks!
  • If the service you received from us was exceptional, please consider
  • tweeting your love for @dreamhost. It’ll warm our hearts, soothe
  • our souls, and get you good karma at some point down the road.


Thanks again for all the info you sent our way, Jonathan. This is
completely confirmed and verified, and we have an upgrade to the latest
version of dovecot planned for the near future. This should indefinitely
fix the compatibility issues with the older version of iOS. I do not have
an exact ETA for you at this time I’m afraid. Until then, moving a
mislabeled file to trash, as well as moving between other folders other
than trash, is a workaround. I apologize for the inconvenience, but this
should eventually be cleared for good once we have dovecot tested and
upgraded across our mail network. If we can perhaps help with setting
your domains up on an external mail service, or with anything else
unrelated at the moment, please reply here and let me know. I do hope we
can keep you around! :frowning:

Thanks for your patience and understanding,
Sean H (communicated with you before on twitter)

I don’t know if feel good or worst!!! Always the response on Dream host is the problem is my iPhone and said that is know problem, but they never told me that is know problem BUT they have the solution!!!

I’ll start the migration to bluehost, I previously used that service and worked fine.

I feel bad about the whole thing. I too was looking at BlueHost today. It will be a pain to extract myself and my domains from dreamhost but there’s only so much NOTHING that I can take. The fact that you are getting feedback that implies that the problem is with iOS leads me to believe that the knowledge of the actual problem has not been spread around OR they changed their mind (unlikely - the bug in DOVECOT was crystal clear and they claimed to confirm it), or the wrong people left the company and the only hope is convincing the new guard.

But seriously WTF are they thinking? Two simple solutions to this problem: (1) upgrade to the latest dovecot or simply apply the patch that fixes this one problem, or (2) disable the feature that is broken and recompile the existing DOVECOT server.

I was so grateful to Apple for taking the time to respond to my third bug report by actually walking me through the logs and interpreting them for me. I am so sad that dreamhost has dropped the ball these past 2 years.

Jonathan, do you think my problem is regarding the same issue of dovecot thing?

I wasn’t able to even contact Apple to explain my problem but the example is that I have 3 more mailboxes in my iPhone and works 100%

If your problem is that seemingly random messages are “unread” on some device where you know that you have read those items on another device, then YES, this is the cause of your problem.

And it will not happen with your gmail accounts because the problem is in the mail server, and it’s triggered by clients that use a particular feature (CONDSTORE) which is not implemented correctly in the dreamhost server. Sadly THAT bug has been fixed for 2+ years and dreamhost just hasn’t deployed new versions of the code.

I am have a technical background so I was able to provide a lot of information to apple and ask them important questions, which I am grateful they responded to. It would be hard for a lay-person to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of a problem like this.

So sad!!! I contracted DREAMHOST 2 months ago to start a new company and host with them my new domain, I prefer a lot the use of IMAP because I use at the same time MacBook, iPad and iPhone and as is crystal clear the contacts, schedule, etc by iCloud I need as clear as them the use of email and is very uncomfortable that I see unread messages on my iPhone that I already read in the iPad or MacBook because I’m the kind of person that read the whole emails and answer the whole emails so if I see a unread message I get mad so that’s why I like always to dont have unread messages and when I check iPhone and see 5 unread and then open mail app and see that I already read it an then confirm that those 5 are from the account hosted by DREAMHOST and then send mail to technical support and they ALWAYS answer that the problem is the iPhone and iPad is awful!!!


Do you know about some customer ptrotection agency or something to claim on this?

Look what they answer today Jonathan!!!

Hi there!

I’m sorry to see you’re still having these issues with the Apple mail
program, but you’re referring to a post from 2012 and the issue here
isn’t occurring for everyone. We have a ton of mail users hosted with us
and while I don’t have an exact count, many of our users are using either
Mac mail programs or Outlook.

Also, you were able to verify that the user was working on another
computer, so there really isn’t much more we can address with regards to
this matter, I’m afraid.

If this was a known issue on our end, we would have had a ton of reports
regarding the mail user not properly syncing with their Mac mail program,
but that’s not the case here and no one else is reporting these types of
issues to us.

Etc etc

FWIW, I don’t experience these problems. My exact configuration for apple devices is above in post 2 of this thread. I regularly use my iPhone, iPad, Outlook, and webmail and have no synching problems between any.

My suggestion would be that of another current thread and that is to start comparing mail clusters to see if perhaps it’s a problem only on a single mail cluster. Mine is homiemail-master.

I have noticed lately significant issues in this regard. I’m on homiemail-sub4

I am having the same problem on homiemail-sub4 as well. My wife’s iPhone and iPad do not sync read/unread status correctly.

I have the problem with IOS synchronizing mail unread state and I am also on homiemail-sub4.

Hi there -I’ve just joined to say that my business partner and I are having the same sync issues with our iphones as well -really very annoying -I assumed it was an error I made on setup and kept meaning to correct it, but know I’ve had a real look into it and tried everything in terms of varying the setup -as mentioned here and the dreamhost wiki -nothing makes any difference.

Mail runs and syncs perfectly on both our macs, but does not sync up on or iphones.

Would someone mind telling me how to find out which mail cluster I am on?


Same issue for me. I’m also on—surprise!—homiemail-sub4.

Took me a minute to find it too; they’ve been moving things around.

In the panel, go way down to bottom of the menu, expand the “Support” heading, and click “Datacenters”.

excellent, thanks

homiemail-sub4 it is!

Also having this problem, and I’m on homiemail-sub4. -.-

I don’t think one of our website clients on our hosting with an iPhone has this problem though. And he’s had all sorts of other problems with his huge IMAP mailbox and wanting access to it from anywhere and everything, so I’m pretty familiar with his email clients and their issues. He’s using a somewhat older iPhone though and if I’m not mistaken the email client changes with the OS version. (I just got an iPhone 6, and I think his is around an iPhone 4 in age but I’m not sure on that.)

Same issues - on homiemail-sub4