How to fix Python IMAP ‘command CLOSE illegal in state AUTH, only allowed in states SELECTED

Problem:

You have IMAP code in Python similar to

server = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL('imap.mydomain.com')
server.login('email@mydomain.com', 'password')
# ...
# Cleanup
server.close()

but when you run it, server.close() fails with an error message like

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "./imaptest.py", line 13, in <module>
    server.close()
  File "/usr/lib/python3.6/imaplib.py", line 461, in close
    typ, dat = self._simple_command('CLOSE')
  File "/usr/lib/python3.6/imaplib.py", line 1196, in _simple_command
    return self._command_complete(name, self._command(name, *args))
  File "/usr/lib/python3.6/imaplib.py", line 944, in _command
    ', '.join(Commands[name])))
imaplib.error: command CLOSE illegal in state AUTH, only allowed in states SELECTED

Solution:

Prior to server.close(), you must run server.select() at least once. If in doubt, just server.select("INBOX")because this will always work.

Insert this line before server.close():

server.select("INBOX")

It should look like this:

server = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL('imap.mydomain.com')
server.login('email@mydomain.com', 'password')
# ...
# Cleanup
server.select("INBOX")
server.close()

For a complete example see Minimal Python IMAP over SSL example