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I use Google priority inbox so I've a Starred section, Important, and Everything else as separate sections on the web gmail.

Now, I just set up my "Mail" on Mac OS X (using IMAP) but Mail will just show 1 inbox, is there a way to prioritize the mails like the web version of gmail.

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The folders in Gmail are not really folders when accessed in most IMAP clients. They are not "children" of the main inbox. In Mail, you should see a Gmail section on the left well below the Inbox, Sent, Trash, Jun, Reminders, Smart Mailboxes, and On My Mac.

There you should see the full hierarchy of the folders that exist in the Gmail web interface.

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You can see them in the Gmail section on the left sidebar. To show the left sidebar, click the "Show" button on the top left.

Gmail folders in mail

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In 9.3 (and possibly earler versions—I've never tried) this can now be done fairly easily—more or less, anyway:

  1. In the mailbox list, beside "Smart Mailboxes", click "Show" then click "+" to create a new smart mailbox.

Show Smart Mailboxes

  1. For "Important", select messages that match all of the criteria "Message is in mailbox Inbox" and "Message is in mailbox Important".

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  1. For "Starred", create a new smart mailbox that matches all of "Message is in mailbox Inbox", "Message is not in mailbox Important" and "Message is flagged":

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  1. …or, if you're like me and instead have Gmail show "All Starred", you can use the "Flagged" mailbox. This isn't quite the same as the (misnamed) "All Starred" section of Gmail's Priority Inbox view, which excludes starred items already shown in any of the sections further up the page (notably: threads which are both important and starred), so if you want to be really pedantic, create a new smart mailbox that matches "Message is Flagged" and "Message is not in mailbox Important" (and make sure that's the smart Important mailbox; select the regular Important mailbox and you'll unintentionally exclude important starred messages not in the inbox!)

enter image description here

  1. For "Everything Else", create a new smart mailbox that matches all of "Message is in mailbox Inbox", "Message is not in mailbox Important" and "Message is not in mailbox Starred":

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  1. Finally, drag these new smart mailboxes to the favourites bar at the top of the window:

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  • will only show one of these mailboxes at a time, whereas Gmail's smart inbox will show up to four different sections all at the same time.
  • Because Gmail keeps track of labels and important status per-message (even though they are displayed as if they apply to the whole thread), you will occasionally see threads appearing in more than one of these smart mailboxes at the same time.
  • No guarantees about what happens to important status when you start dragging messages to other mailboxes!
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