What Is IMAP? How to Sync Email Across Devices

  • IMAP (brief for Internet Message Access Protocol) is an web protocol that allows you to sync your electronic mail inbox throughout a number of gadgets.
  • Most widespread electronic mail apps, like Gmail and Outlook, use IMAP servers to hold your electronic mail the identical on each machine.
  • If your electronic mail makes use of a POP server as a substitute, it’s going to solely work nicely with a single pc.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

When you arrange your electronic mail on a brand new cellphone or app, you want to choose what electronic mail consumer you utilize (Gmail, Yahoo, and so forth.). And if you happen to do not choose a particular consumer, you could have to specify whether or not you are utilizing an IMAP or POP electronic mail.

IMAP, which is brief for Internet Message Access Protocol, is an electronic mail protocol that retains your electronic mail in sync throughout a number of gadgets, and allows you to entry your messages from any pc or cell machine. It’s much more versatile than POP (Post Office Protocol), which basically ties you to a single machine. 

You want to select the e-mail protocol — IMAP or POP — while you initially arrange the account. You would possibly want to select this from a setup menu while you join service with an web service supplier, otherwise you would possibly want to enlist the help of buyer assist.

What to find out about IMAP

IMAP is a versatile mail protocol as a result of it shops your entire messages on a distant mail server, known as an IMAP server, and while you entry mail in your electronic mail consumer, it solely downloads a duplicate of these messages. 

Anything you do to the messages in your native mail consumer — reply, delete, ahead, and so forth — is synchronized with the copy on the IMAP server. This permits you to join to your electronic mail account from a number of gadgets and permits your messages to all the time keep in sync. 

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IMAP syncs your electronic mail on numerous gadgets.

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How IMAP is totally different than POP

In distinction to IMAP, POP downloads messages to the e-mail consumer, and there is no effort made to hold the server and consumer in sync. Depending upon your settings, your electronic mail will stay on the server or shall be deleted mechanically when it is downloaded to the consumer. 

If you utilize a couple of machine to entry POP electronic mail, this presents an issue: Your inbox will look totally different on each machine. In different phrases, when you’ve got a alternative when establishing an electronic mail account, it is a good suggestion to select IMAP if you happen to ever plan to use electronic mail on greater than a single machine. 

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When you configure an electronic mail account, you may choose an current electronic mail service, or a common POP or IMAP service.

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Moreover, any mail you create and ship utilizing a POP account will solely exist within the native electronic mail consumer — it isn’t saved on the server. If you later want to migrate your electronic mail to a unique consumer or a brand new pc, you will want to use a migration software within the electronic mail app to transfer these messages to the brand new app. Otherwise, these messages shall be misplaced while you begin utilizing the brand new app.

There’s no want to do this with IMAP as a result of all messages are synced with the IMAP server. When you arrange a brand new electronic mail app, it is going to mechanically retrieve these saved messages after they’re wanted.

How to use an IMAP electronic mail server

If you utilize a preferred electronic mail service like Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo, any adjustments you make to your messages are synced with the mail server mechanically, similar to IMAP. 

When you arrange your electronic mail account in Outlook or one other common electronic mail app, the app will often configure it as an IMAP account mechanically. This manner, any adjustments you make to messages within the app will mechanically sync with the webmail server. 

On uncommon events, your electronic mail consumer can have hassle configuring webmail as an IMAP account. If that occurs, it is best to refer to the e-mail service’s buyer assist for steering on how to arrange the account manually.

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