Q: how do I prevent mu4e from automatically checking mail when the internet's down?


I use mu4e and offlineimap to handle my email. When on a laptop, I have to deal with the fact that I sometimes have spotty wifi connections. offlineimap freaks out when it gets called without an internet connection.

Problem as it relates to mu4e

I have mu4e invoke offlineimap automatically every 5 minutes or so:

(setq mu4e-get-mail-command "offlineimap -o"
      mu4e-update-interval  300)

Unfortunately, that means it doesn't check if I've actually got an internet connection.


How do I tell mu4e not to invoke offlineimap if there's no internet connection?

2 Answers 2


Use wrapper shell script.

Below please find trivial sample script checking connection status as reported by Unix/Linux NetworkManager.

# exit if there is no internet connection
/usr/bin/nm-online || exit 

/usr/bin/offlineimap -o

Emacs fix (use wrapper instead of directly using offlineimap):

(setq mu4e-get-mail-command "/home/me/bin/offlineimap-wrapper.sh"
      mu4e-update-interval  300)
  • Thanks! I'm on Linux so this works for me, but I'm going to leave the post open for a little longer to see if there are any OS-agnostic ways to do it.
    – Dan
    Oct 3, 2018 at 1:28

(Posting this Q&A combo since it took me a while to figure out, and it might save someone else the trouble.)

Based on this answer to a question on how to test for an internet connection within elisp, we can call a shell command:

(defun internet-up-p (&optional host)
  (= 0 (call-process "ping" nil nil nil "-c" "1" "-W" "1" 
                     (if host host "www.google.com"))))

We can then add advice to the relevant mu4e function to tell it to do its thing only if there's a connection:

(advice-add #'mu4e-update-mail-and-index
            (lambda (&rest args)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.