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What are IMAP and POP?

IMAP and POP are two methods of accessing email. IMAP is the recommended method if you need to read your e-mail on several different devices, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.

IMAP

IMAP allows you to access your email from any device wherever you are. When you read an email message through IMAP, the message isn't actually downloaded or stored on your computer, but rather you read it from the email service. As a result, you can check your email from different devices anywhere in the world: your smartphone, a computer, a friend's computer.

With IMAP, a message is only downloaded when you click it, and attachments are not downloaded automatically. This way you can check your messages much faster than with POP.

POP

POP works by connecting to the email service and downloading any new messages from the service. Once the messages have been downloaded to your PC or Mac, they will be deleted from the email service. This means that after the e-mails have been downloaded, only on same computer can be accessed. If you access your email on another device, the messages that have already been downloaded will not be available to you.

A sent e-mail is saved locally on your PC or Mac, not on the e-mail server.

Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide you with email accounts that use POP.

Webmail accounts and email apps

If you've used Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, or iCloud, you have Webmail used. To access your webmail account, connect to the Internet and sign in to your email account.

If you have a PC or Mac, you've probably used a program like Outlook, Apple Mail, or Thunderbird to manage your email. Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird are email apps: programs that you install on your computer to manage your email. They work with an email service like Gmail or Outlook.com to receive and send email.

You can add any email account to your email app so that it can manage your email. You can e.g. B. Add webmail accounts - Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, AOL, and Yahoo - to the Outlook or Apple Mail app to manage your email, and you can add email accounts.

Adding webmail accounts to email apps like Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird

When you add your email account to your email app, it usually tries to set up the account with IMAP access without asking for any input from you.

If the email app has problems adding your email account, it is usually because the email account is set up for POP access. In this case, you will need to go to your email provider and find out the name of the POP and SMTP server so that you can enter the information into the email app. The information usually looks something like this:

  • Incoming mail server (IMAP): imap. <Name of the service> .com

  • Incoming E-Mail Server (POP): pop. <Name of the service> .com

  • Outgoing e-mail server (SMTP): smtp. <Name of the service> .com

See also

POP, IMAP, and SMTP settings for Outlook.com

POP and IMAP settings for Outlook (Office 365 for business)

Sync basics - what can be synced?