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NB. I'm purely asking out of curiosity, flags sync correctly for me on both iOS and macOS using a GMail account.

In macOS/iOS Mail you can assign different coloured flags (orange, red, violet, blue, yellow, green, grey) to messages, rather than just starring them.

How is this stored, is there something in the IMAP specification that supports extra metadata for messages?

To my knowledge, Gmail has never offered anything other than starring messages, although I seem to recall there may have been an optional extension that supported extra colours.

(I assume iCloud syncing isn't involved.)

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  • I would guess that mail is creating/using Gmail labels. Have you tried opening your Gmail account to look for anything in the UI when viewing a flagged email?
    – JBallin
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 5:24
  • I don't see anything in either the folder structure or label settings in Gmail. Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 12:28

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