Although nonnative protein conformations, including intermediates along the folding pathway and kinetically trapped misfolded species that disfavor the native state, are rarely isolated in the solution phase, they are often stable in the gas phase, where macromolecular ions from electrospray ionization can exist in varying charge states. Differences in the structures of nonnative conformations in the gas phase are often large enough to allow different shapes and charge states to be separated because of differences in their mobilities through a gas. Moreover, gentle collisional activation can be used to induce structural transformations. These new structures often have different mobilities. Thus, there is the possibility of developing a multidimensional separation that takes advantage of structural differences of multiple stable states. This review discusses how nonnative states differ in the gas phase compared with solution and presents an overview of early attempts to utilize and manipulate structures in order to develop ion mobility spectrometry as a rapid and sensitive technique for separating complex mixtures of biomolecules prior to mass spectrometry.