IMAP issue: "Cannot connect to server" :: 3 LIST (SPECIAL-USE) "" "INBOX/*" [BAD, Missing required argument to List]

The configuration of a new IMAP account fails in the Mail application with the error “Cannot connect to server”. The /e/ Mail application (version 5.6) does not provide any other information, the configuration cannot be completed and one gets completely blocked: I have not found any way of using the email account.

After some debugging and extracting the log file, I found that the connection and authentication with the server works fine but the IMAP LIST command issued by the application to retrieve the folder configuration fails as follows:

  • command: LIST (SPECIAL-USE) “” “INBOX/*”
  • response: #3# [BAD, Missing required argument to List]

Further investigation in the web shows that this is (or was) a frequent issue with K-9. Some people claim that it is due to the fact that the client sends the LIST command before time and that it is not a server error.
With K-9 this error is usually ignored without major consequences as it is rather benign: it does not prevent to complete the configuration of the new account and to start using the application. I could confirm this behavior myself by giving a try to K-9 (same version: 5.6) in a ‘standard’ android device with the same email account and configuration parameters: I got the same error (although K-9 displays the error message on the screen what makes one’s life easier) but I could continue the configuration and start using the email account.

The problem that I have with /e/ Mail is that I do not manage to make the application ignore this error and use my email account. I would appreciate any comment, info or idea about:

a) any possible workaround to bypass the LIST error at the first initialization. Once the account is configured this error seems not to happen any more.

b) advantages of using /e/ Mail instead K-9 (or other recommended email client)

b) The /e/ Mail app from stock is a fork of K-9. They share some problems. Both had issues with the IMAP IDLE feature (push messages).

You could use the very sophisticated Fairemail instead and get finally rid of all these problems.

Thank you irrlicht , I will give a try to Fairemail and compare, all these email clients are completely new to me.

From my side and after some more time investigating this matter I also found this workaround that consists in installing and using K-9 first to configure the email account and export the configuration settings to a file. And then importing the account settings from the file into /e/ Mail:

It has worked for me and I have now finally my IMAP account configured and operational in /e/ Mail. And two additional interesting findings:

  • I used the last release of K-9, version 5.734, not flagged as stable but that looks very nice.
  • The original configuration issue, the error with the LIST command that was present in version 5.6 of both K-9 and /e/ Mail, seems to be fixed in this newer version.

So, I will install also Fairemail and play a little bit with the three clients for a while before deciding what to do.

I am starting with this, still learning and in my case the email client is by far the most important application. So, any other advice or comment is still more than welcome!