POP3 or IMAP? Which one is right for you?

No matter what operating system or email client you are using, this question has to be answered before setting up your mailbox. First of all, you need to know what you need.

Should I use an IMAP?

If you need access to your emails from more devices, no matter where you actually are, then yes. IMAP means your email client software (eg Outlook in your laptop and/or a smartphone) will connect to a server and you can see your emails on a server. Emails are not moved from server to your device.

Should I use a POP3?

If you do not need to access your emails from more devices, then yes. Keep in mind that emails with POP3 will be downloaded to your computer. After a while downloaded emails will disappear from a mail server if you don’t tick a little box in settings that you want to keep email copies on a mail server.

More simple explanation

In other very simple words: IMAP is a viewer, POP3 is a downloader.

Is there something else I should know?

Well, it depends on your experience with setting up the mailbox in your device and what email client software you are using. Actually you can be using POP3 like IMAP, but you have to check an option in settings which can be written something like:

  • Don’t remove messages from the server.
  • Keep copies on the server.
  • Do not delete messages from the server.

I need to change POP3 to IMAP

It’s possible, of course. You will back-up your emails as you always do (if not, you should). Then you will add another account in your laptop or computer. Once it is done, you can load all emails from POP3 folder to the IMAP folder by ‘drag and drop’. All emails will appear in all devices where is set up IMAP.

Keep in mind it is not a good idea to mix up POP3 and IMAP in your devices as some emails will be downloaded (and then will disappear from server) and you will be confused where your emails are.