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Imap vs POP3 help please

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Newbie
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Registered: ‎01-01-2020

Imap vs POP3 help please

Hi all, I hope you can help me with this query.

I have a macbook and iphone that are set up as imap.  When I delete an email from one of those devices its deleted from both.  I don't want that, I want the email to stay on my macbook.  Can I do this?

Also I note that when I delete an email on either device it is deleted from webmail.  I also don't want to do this either. I'd like my emails to stay on webmail.

I'm a bit of a settings numpty so would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks in advance.

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Pro
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

I don't know what programme you are using for mail, but in the settings there will be an option for what to do with the mail. I have mine set to not delete on the server when deleting on phone. I use Thunderbird on my pc and the setup is similar.

Probably doesn't help much, but I don't have any fruit products.

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Hero
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

@Arranjack 

As @Marksfish says, it’s all about the email client. Normally with imap the message stays on the server so when you click delete you are removing it from there, hence it’s deletion from all devices. 

It’s possible that you are confused and not downloading messages to your devices at all but simply viewing them on the server. The way to check is to disconnect from the internet and check if you can still view messages.

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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

Hi @Baldrick1  and @Marksfish thanks for your responses.  I'm using the apple mail programme on my macbook and imail on my phone and I can't see anywhere where I can specify how long the keep emails for or whether or not to delete them from the server. It's a bit of a mystery.

I did disconnect from the internet on both devices and can see the emails so it looks like they are downloading.  I did also try deleting an email from both devices and in both cases the email was deleted from my webmail at the same time.

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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

As far I am aware with imap on macmail if you delete from one device then it deletes from all. It does on my devices.

imap mails are all stored on the server, were pop3 gets downloaded to your device you are using at the time and that device stores the message

The option about removing messages from the server only shows when email is set to pop3

see 

https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mail/cpmlprefacctmbox/mac

 

 

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Superuser
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

The way you describe it working is the way it should work - all devices see a consistent view of your email service. Mixing POP3 and IMAP invariably leads to confusion.

Simple answer is do not delete what you want to keep, on any device.

If you want to create an archive somewhere, move mail from the inbox to a local archive folder on the device where you want the archive to be
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

@Arranjack 

The way you describe that you want to work, you would probably be better using POP3 on both devices. There should be a setting for POP3 which keeps messages on the server when downloaded to either device. So you would effectively have a copy of each message on each device as well as retaining it on the server. The downside to this is that you could end up with a build up of messages on the server if you don't regularly log in to Webmail to delete them. Also, I'm pretty sure that if you delete them from either device, each time you refresh your Inbox they will download again.

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Superuser
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

POP3 with multiple devices really does not play well!!

Running POP3 with leave on server is not the way POP3 was really intended to work.  People do tend to focus on how the emails they receive are treated ... completely ignoring how sent email is handeld.

With IMAP everywhere, sent items are held on the server, consequently an email sent from anywhere can be seen everywhere.  Howere wih a POP3 configuration, sent items are only on the device which sent it.  Consequently it is impossible to look on the phone for an email you sent from the PC.  If you later need to refere to a sent email, you'll have to hunt through all of your devides to find it.

POP3 is somewhat outdated and IMHO should be avoided.

If one wants a local copy for archieve purposes, that should be an explict action of moving content from the "live" inbox to some sanctioned local storage.

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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

@Townman 

I agree with much of what you are saying. IMAP should be the way to go if you need to keep multiple devices in sync for email. Unfortunately there are many email clients that don't do this effectively. If you know of one that will keep all folders in sync, not just the Inbox, please let me know. As you mention, usually the treatment of sent items can be problematic.

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Hero
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

This thread has exposed my possible ignorance of how imap works. I use POP3 and keep my own back ups.

I thought that imap messages only existed on the server unless positive action was taken to download them to devices. Is that incorrect and in fact messages are automatically downloaded to all clients and these multiple client mailboxes all get clogged with the same messages? If so this is a killer if one device is running short of memory.

If my original premise is correct then there is no need to delete messages locally as they are not taking up any memory. What's pulled me up is the OP stating that messages are still available when his computer is off line.

Can someone please clarify?

 

 

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Superuser
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

It really depends on the client.  IMAP has the possibilities to download the headers (from address, to address, sent time etc...) and to download the body (the rest of the message).  When this happens, and what the client does with it is up to the client.

A few clients I used to use (20 years ago, maybe!), would fetch the headers straight away.  These would be available regardless of network connectivity from then on (until it was deleted).  When you then open the message it would then download the body.

What most (all?) clients seem to do now is download both the header and body at the same time (though possibly not attachments).

When the email is deleted or moved to another folder the server will send the relevent commands to each client when it connects to do the same.

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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

I've just checked with the 2 mail clients I use , Thunderbird and K-9 and both of those default to 'synchronising' at least the Inbox folder, so they will in effect download to local storage

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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

Most of the IMAP clients I’ve used work well with subscribed to folders. Some clients subscribe to all folders by default, whilst others require explicit action to subscribe and sync. Not subscribing to folders which are not essential can reduce the client side payload.

The biggest challenge with some email clients is that they do not play nicely with preexisting system folders (Draft, Sent and Trash). Of particular note, Win 10 “Outlook” is particularly bad. It will not use the server drafts folder and makes its own mind up as to what and where the sent items folder is called.

Other Outlook clients and the previous products (OLE, WLM etc) are all fairly good at playing together and with Web mail and the iDevice email application. I have a phone, two tablets and two PCs all looking at a mix of the same mailboxes. It all works without any hitches.

Of particular note, one mail account is @outlook.com - that is. It used for email, but is used to keep contacts and calendar in sync across the lot.

As far as storage goes, you’d need mailboxes far larger than PlusNET’s maximum time run into problems.
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Re: Imap vs POP3 help please

Big thanks to everyone who responded.  I now understand much better what is going on and will stick with imap and make sure I don't delete anything on my iphone until I've moved it into a different folder on my macbook.  That way the email gets saved.  Really great help guys, thanks very much!!