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Using IMAP - some confusion!

sinewave
Grafter
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎17-08-2007

Using IMAP - some confusion!

I've used POP email until recently but want my email "synced" between a couple of computers and my iPhone. I use Apple computers with Apple's Mail app.
This is how I want things...
I want to have a full archive, for ever, of all the mail I don't delete on my main computer. I want to be able to find emails I sent five years ago for eg - just like I have done with my POP email. I don't need this massive archive on my secondary computer and phone of course, but I want to see any changes I have made to emails (such as being read, sent, deleted etc) being reflected on all three email systems. If I read an email on my secondary computer and reply to it, I want to see that email on my main computer having being "read" and my reply email in the sent folder.
This is how I presume one sets things up...
Main computer downloads all mail and stores it (including all attachments etc) locally on its system drive.
second computer does not store mail locally - it simply looks to the IMAP server.
Iphone does not store all mail - it simply looks to the iMAP server.
...And all this seems to be working ok. However...
I was told by a Plusnet support rep, on the phone, that the IMAP mail server does not provide my email account with unlimited storage (fair enough!). When it gets full it will simply bounce back email to sender and I will have no warning that this is happening (!). He tells me I have to delete mail from the server so it doesn't get too full. He suggests doing it via webmail - but he was honest and wasn't sure of the best way. Surely, I don't have to go via webmail and manually clear out my INBOX from time to time? And anyway - won't this delete emails from my locally stored email archive? Thats the point of syncing email isn't it?
Am I missing something here? Can't I do what I would like to do? (I realise I can use googlemail etc that provide unlimited storage)
I guess I just need a system that deletes mail from the server once it is "so old" which doesn't mess up my email stored at home on my main computer.

Also (yes I know this is getting long!),
It seems I cannot use plusnet's SMTP servers on my iPhone when using GPRS/3G (its fine on home wifi). Is that right?

Any help and guidance very much appreciated thanks.
15 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Use Gmail with IMAP as well as PN with IMAP and just drag-and-drop to file stuff you want to keep onto Gmail.
sinewave
Grafter
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎17-08-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

HPsauce,
As I said in my post, I understand that Gmail provides unlimited storage.
I want to store/archive my emails locally on my own computer.
I do not want the hassle of having to remember to manually move emails about, or deleting emails from some remote server etc. I'm happy to put in a bit of work, to automate things. I just don't want to set myself up with "jobs to do" in the future.
I just want to sync my email across three clients/computers.
One thing I've just thought of:
Could I have a POP account AND an IMAP account on my main computer. I set my pop account to delete downloaded emails on the remote server after 1 month (As I think I did when I was pure POP). I use the IMAP account for reading and responding to emails so that everything remains in sync but my POP account is effectively clearing 1 month old emails from the Plusnet server, preventing it from overflowing. Just a thought!


Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,575
Thanks: 1,252
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Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Quote from: sinewave
This is how I want things...
I want to have a full archive, for ever, of all the mail I don't delete on my main computer. I want to be able to find emails I sent five years ago for eg - just like I have done with my POP email. I don't need this massive archive on my secondary computer and phone of course, but I want to see any changes I have made to emails (such as being read, sent, deleted etc) being reflected on all three email systems. If I read an email on my secondary computer and reply to it, I want to see that email on my main computer having being "read" and my reply email in the sent folder.

I'd set up all three devices to use IMAP. On the main computer though, there will probably be an option within the 'Mail' application that allows you to download IMAP messages so that they can be read offline - I know there's definitely an option like this in 'Thunderbird' and it would accomplish what you're trying to achieve.
quote]I was told by a Plusnet support rep, on the phone, that the IMAP mail server does not provide my email account with unlimited storage (fair enough!).
Do you know how much email you have?
Quote
When it gets full it will simply bounce back email to sender and I will have no warning that this is happening

That's not true. There is no defined limit but we will contact customers from time to time who have massive mail directories and ask them to take measures to ensure the size of their mailboxes is reduced.
Quote
(I realise I can use googlemail etc that provide unlimited storage)

I thought Gmail's storage was limited?
Quote
It seems I cannot use plusnet's SMTP servers on my iPhone when using GPRS/3G (its fine on home wifi). Is that right?

Yes. You will need to either use SMTP authentication with the Plusnet server address or use the relay server of your GPRS/3G provider.
Quote
Could I have a POP account AND an IMAP account on my main computer. I set my pop account to delete downloaded emails on the remote server after 1 month (As I think I did when I was pure POP). I use the IMAP account for reading and responding to emails so that everything remains in sync but my POP account is effectively clearing 1 month old emails from the Plusnet server, preventing it from overflowing. Just a thought!

I can't see any reason why that wouldn't work as long as you don't mind only having access to a month's worth of emails on the devices that are using IMAP.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

Community Veteran
Posts: 26,744
Thanks: 954
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

1. I'm using IMAP and have a lot of emails stored, some with large attachments and haven't found out if there is a limit (yet!).
2. You are right - if you delete emails from your inbox using webmail that deletion will be synced to your PCs.
3. I think you should be able to use SMTP from your phone providing you use authenticated SMTP (use your username (without the +mailboxname) and main account password).
4. I use Thunderbird and this allows me to just drag and drop emails I want to permanently archive from the IMAP mail accounts on to storage folders within local folders on my PC. You could create rules to do that automatically.
5. You can access the same mailbox on the Plusnet servers using both POP3 and IMAP. If POP3 deletes emails after a month they will also disappear from the IMAP and that deletion will be replicated to other mail clients accessing the mailbox using IMAP. I do something very similar to that with one of my mailboxes.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
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Community Veteran
Posts: 26,744
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Quote from: Bob
I thought Gmail's storage was limited?

To me the difference between unlimited and the 2G email storage that they offer isn't worth worrying about.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
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Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Quote from: Bob
option within the 'Mail' application that allows you to download IMAP messages so that they can be read offline

That's what I meant you to use of course.  Wink
Quote from: jelv
To me the difference between unlimited and the 2G email storage that they offer isn't worth worrying about.

It's nearer 8GB the last time I checked on my Gmail account....... Cheesy
sinewave
Grafter
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎17-08-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Thanks all for your replies. Thats cleared up a lot of things for me.
I still have problems with my set up. I've contacted support and have a ticket waiting to be dealt with (since 10am this morning). If I select my drafts folder at home I get some error message. If I try to save a message as a draft on webmail  I get three error messages...
ERROR: Could not append message to INBOX.Drafts.
Server responded: [ALERT] Cannot create message - no write permission or out of disk space.
ERROR:
ERROR: Could not append message to INBOX.Drafts.
Server responded: Error in IMAP command received by server.
ERROR:
ERROR: Connection dropped by IMAP server.
Query: LOGOUT
Things have not been right for a while and I first contacted support on Saturday when they re-built my mail (or something that was supposed to take 4 hours or so).
I'm aware that my email software (Apple's Mail) automatically creates folders depending on various settings and this can get confusing when using different computers and settings! I have removed my IMAP accounts from all my systems to keep my PN mail account simple and am using webmail for now.
As support is taking >12hours to respond, may I copy a question I added to my ticket this evening in case you bright folks can help....

I see there is a folder called uidvalidity that I can subscribe to in webmail. This appears in as a folder in my email software (I am using Apple's Mail app). What is it for? where's it come from etc? Should it be there?
In apple's Mail app should I have "INBOX" written in the "IMAP prefix path". Whether I do or not seems to affect how the (plusnet side) folders are displayed in my Mail app. I see that apple's Mail app can create IMAP folders automatically (for eg it will create "To do" and "notes" folders) and I suspect these sort of actions may rely on the prefix path being right. Apple says contact your system admin to check if what this prefix should be.

Again, thanks.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,744
Thanks: 954
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Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Apples - I prefer Braeburn's - but beyond that I know diddly squat so sorry I can't help you on those questions.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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GreyFox
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-03-2010

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Quote from: sinewave
Thanks all for your replies. Thats cleared up a lot of things for me.
I still have problems with my set up. I've contacted support and have a ticket waiting to be dealt with (since 10am this morning).

Hello, sorry this is over a year later, but I'm having exactly the same probs and wondered if you ever got them sorted?
sinewave
Grafter
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎17-08-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Hi,
If you are refering to those odd, un-deletable  folders appearing in in my account I think (it was while back!) it needed tech support to "rebuild" things for me. I'm not sure what caused it but I suspect it was not supposed to happen - ie a bug somewhere. I've not had problems since in the same way.
I have seen other folders appear after I set another computer to sync with my imap account. It was my fault for using a wrong initial set-up. Once my settings where right I found rebooting my mail app sort of kicked things into shape and the folders on the pn server disappeard.
I've no complaints at all now and consider my email very stable and reliable.   
GreyFox
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-03-2010

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

That's good to hear, thanks! Was the tech help from Apple (re the Mail client setup) or from PlusNet?
sinewave
Grafter
Posts: 297
Registered: ‎17-08-2007

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Tech support from was from plusnet. Something had gone wrong on the plusnet email server side of things for some reason. My account had top be reset in some way and only plusnet can do that for you.
Even if your problem is a bit different to mine, its worth a call to plusnet. Their advice and help is usually pretty useful.
Community Gaffer
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Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

@GreyFox, I've given things a bit of a kick from here, is it the free account you're posting from that you're having problems with?

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

GreyFox
Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-03-2010

Re: Using IMAP - some confusion!

Thanks for your input, Bob. Sorry for not getting back to the forum sooner! I have two free a/c's on PlusNet and various mailboxes on each, which in the past has never been any problem to manage, via IMAP it's a doddle, but it's been a nightmare setting it all up from scratch in the new MBP in Snow Leopard, after my iBook (running Tiger) died and I lost the entire contents of the HD with no uptodate backup - yes, I know! ; ( so no a/c settings to import as one might hope with a sensibly planned move changing from an old machine to a new one or upgrading the OS, or indeed changing client.
I've actually more or less got things sorted now, thanks. In the end it's been more a question of getting my head round the very different "mindset" behind how IMAP is presented in Mail, after having been used to handling it for over 10yrs with no trouble at all in OE and subsequently Entourage, with an assortment of different e-mail a/c's, mailboxes and even different servers, hostings etc., and finding it absolutely perfect. I never really got my head round PlusNet's webmail, never really needed to bother with it, but now I've had a period when I've been relying on it, I'm finding Squirrel pretty basic and cumbersome, and the jump to Mac's Mail client was like moving to a foreign country!
I'm still not 100% happy, I still reckon Entourage for IMAP (never understood why POP3 is so ubiquitously used!) is brilliant, intuitive, easy to use for the non-technically minded, way better than both Mail or OE - I'm afraid I've not given many others much of a chance, as I was always more than satisfied with Entourage. But now I'm finally using Snow Leopard I thought I'd give Mail a go...
Returning to possible probs with the PlusNet end, I think it's all pretty much OK now, although I still don't understand why Mail has to set fresh folders "Sent messages" and "Deleted messages" when you set it to store the Sent and Deleted msgs on the server. The path was correctly (I think!) indicated as INBOX, and there is a perfectly good "Sent" folder and "Trash" folder on the server end of the mailbox. It means msg sent or deleted in Squirrel don't end up in the same place as those done from Mail.
Also, I vaguely remember a year or so ago, when I had a spell using someone else's PC and was making do with OE and found it behaving rather differently to what I was used to, I might have managed to delete some of the folders that are supposed to be part of the basic setup that PlusNet supplies, so this might have added to the confusion! I hasten to add, I had moved the contents to other folders I had created Wink but I do recall leaving a bit of a mess, which I never really tried to sort out. This steep learning curve with Snow Leopard and Mail is forcing me to be a bit more careful and understand it all a bit more!
Cheers!