Email Basics: POP3 is Outdated; Please In order to IMAP Today

Although POP3 downloads available all your emails and leaves you to manage them on your local device, IMAP just provides a “window” to your email account. In a world where you have more than one device – or just want to leave your email online so you don’t have to worry about backing up and importing desktop email archives – IMAP is the best solution.

Some services try to bypass this limitation by not actually deleting emails when you access them from POP3. Instead, these services just mark them as read so they won’t be downloaded again. This is a dirty hack and it has a big problem, too:


Image Credit: Digitpedia Com on Flickr (edited)


Exchange is also fine – if you have some sort of work email account and it uses Exchange, you’re good. Exchange works similarly to IMAP, but is a proprietary Microsoft protocol that isn’t available everywhere.

If you’re using an email client that doesn’t support IMAP, it’s long past time to upgrade. Get a more modern email client today – on the desktop, Mozilla Thunderbird is a solid email client by the makers of Firefox, and Microsoft Outlook is very powerful option if you’re already paying for Microsoft Office.


POP3 vs . IMAP can be described as choice you choose when you use a message client gain access to your deliver. That email client may be a desktop method on Windows, Mac, or perhaps Linux, but it really can also be a smartphone or perhaps tablet software.

For example , should you access a message account with 1000 unread emails with IMAP, you are able to access all of them instantly. They will don’t basically download till you wide open them — of course , you are able to configure the IMAP customer to immediately download the number of e-mails. Email accessories don’t down load until you view all of them, unless you set up your email account in any other case. When you wide open an email, they have instantly runs as keep reading your product, the IMAP server (for example, inside the Gmail or perhaps Outlook. com web interface), and every various other IMAP customer you use. Should you organize the emails in to folders, your business will be synced online. Should you delete a message, it will be wiped everywhere — not just on your own local product.

Modern email programs will need to automatically arrears to applying IMAP rather than POP3. Begin your email app and check to be sure it’s using IMAP and necessarily POP3 for your email account!

RELATED: Email: What’s the Difference Between POP3, IMAP, and Exchange?

POP3 is just out-of-date. It comes from a time when everyone accessed their email in a desktop email program on a single computer. You probably had an email address through your Internet service provider and they provided a tiny amount of email storage no their server – perhaps 10MB or so. When you opened your email program, it would download all the new emails from your email supplier and save them to your computer. It would then delete the emails from your online email account. This was necessary at the time – you only had a few megabytes intended for email storage on the server, and you required to keep it empty or emails directed to the address would probably start “bouncing” back to the sender.


When it comes to interacting with your email, POP3 versus IMAP isn’t only a matter of preference. POP3 is good old, outdated, and necessarily suitable for today’s world. IMAP is a one you have to be using.

This kind of made impression in the 90s – presented the limitations of your technology — but 2 weeks . big problem today. Here’s for what reason:

IMAP can be described as more modern process. Where POP3 just downloads available everything to the device and manages that locally, IMAP is more of your syncing process. IMAP syncs all becomes the hardware and cures your email server — not your neighborhood computer — as the principal place the email is certainly stored.


If your email service shouldn’t support IMAP and only helps POP3, recharging options a good idea to go forward. For example , should you have an Internet supplier that nonetheless offers 10 MB of email safe-keeping you can simply access above POP3, that they probably haven¡¯t upgraded all their email company in 12-15 years. It is probably best to move along to a modern-day service. Offerings like Googlemail and Outlook on life. com can fetch email from your aged account over POP3 so you can get it all in one place.

In case you access your email using a web interface or an official mobile app – like accessing Gmail with the Gmail app on Android or iOS or accessing Microsoft’s Outlook postal mail from perspective. com – you don’t have to worry about this. It is going to just function.

IMAP is just an you choose when you set up your email account in a desktop, smartphone, or tablet email program. Old desktop email programs may be configured to use POP3 by default, but even the Mail app on iOS and the Email app on Android support POP3 email accounts.

RELATED: How To Combine All Your Email Addresses into One Gmail Inbox

Discover really no good reason to use POP3 anymore when you can make use of IMAP. Yes, POP3 can ensure your emails are deleted from your email accounts and only stored on your local device, yet that doesn’t help much – your email messages are transmitted in plaintext anyway, therefore anyone monitoring Internet traffic can just archive copies of them. Email’s simply fundamentally insecure that way, and POP3 certainly doesn’t make it more secure.

Microsoft refused to support POP3 with Windows 8’s included Mail app, requiring workarounds to access a POP3 email account. Whilst this was controversial, they’re at least driving people in the right direction – away from POP3 and toward IMAP (or Exchange. )

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