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Should I use IMAP, POP3 or Webmail?

Both IMAP and POP3 allow you to receive e-mails from a remote server. Your e-mail client (e.g. Outlook) uses these to connect to your mailbox server. You may have your e-mail client on your smartphone, laptop and desktop, and this is where IMAP and POP3 have different uses.

Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) downloads mail from the server and often deletes it from the server after it has done so. This means that depending on when your mail client checks for mail, you'll only receive the e-mail on one device or mail client. This also means that when you delete an e-mail from one device, it will not be deleted from another. For example, if you receive e-mails on your smartphone, deleting them won’t also delete them on your desktop mail client, so you will have an e-mail that you have viewed appear as unread.

Since POP3 downloads e-mails from the server and saves them in a local storage area, losing or damaging your local storage may cause you to lose all of your e-mails.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) on the other hand, is suited for people who want to receive e-mail on more than one device, which nowadays is most people who carry a smartphone. IMAP stores e-mail on remote servers rather than downloading them to local storage, which is how the e-mails can be viewed on different devices. When your read, download or make any changes to e-mails on one device, it will synchronise across any other device using the same account. IMAP has the ability to only download the header of an e-mail so it can be much quicker.

We recommend you use IMAP.

POP3 offers very few, if any benefits. When you are setting up your mail client, you will have the option to choose from IMAP or POP3.

Webmail (www.mailview.co.uk) allows you to view and manage your emails via a browser from any internet connected device. It is highly compatible with smartphones and may well be the only method you need to use your email effectively. If you also access your email using email client software then it is strongly recommended that you set that up using IMAP.


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