Email Battles: IMAP vs. POP3
Email: what is the difference between IMAP and POP3?
When you're setting up your email in a new mail client (email reader, mail user agent i.e. a program that accesses your email) like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail you will come across an option asking you to choose between IMAP or POP3. Choosing the correct option is important if you want to be able to access your email when and where you need it.
So what's the difference? IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) keeps a COPY of your messages on your email program of choice. The email remains on the server and can be accessed or read from multiple devices like your smart phone, tablet, laptop and work computer.
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) downloads the messages from your server onto your device. This means the message will only be available on the ONE device it is downloaded to.
IMAP is usually the method of choice as most people have multiple devices, however if you have a larger number of emails or need to access these messages offline on your one device, then POP3 is the way to go.
Setting up your email properly the first time will prevent a lot of headaches down the road. If you are unsure of the option you are selecting, stop and have a professional set it up for you.
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