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Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Having seen another post on here it just occurred to me that there may be a problem with using IMAP on all devices.
If an email is deleted on one device it is also deleted from all the others and if an email is deleted from the server it is deleted from all other devices once they connect
Now it is quite likely that I am talking rubbish but if I am not is it a good rule to use POP3 on one device with the email left on the server
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Community Veteran
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

That is what I have concluded, Oldjim.
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

I've read many times that you apparently shouldn't mix POP and IMAP (no idea why) but I also prefer to use POP on my main PC but leave messages on the server (1 or 2 weeks) so I can access them on mobile devices via IMAP - I've never found a problem with this approach.
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gree0115
Grafter
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

I always use IMAP, on Thunderbird I always set it to "mark for deletion" so you've always got the option to undelete, then just "compact" the folder once you are happy you haven't deleted anything important. My Windows phone with IMAP moves everything into a deleted folder anyway and cleans up once a week.
Moderator
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

I use POP3 on my main PC so I retain a copy of all emails locally and IMAP on all other devices like phone and tablet.
No problems encountered.

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robski1
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Same here.  Smiley
gree0115
Grafter
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Thunderbird will also allow you to cache locally with IMAP.
Superuser
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Jim,
As ever, it depends on what you want.  The danger with mixing POP and IMAP is that the POP platform totally fouls up the symmetry across all devices.
Whilst all IMAP devices see everything the same (with marginal exceptions on how some IMAP clients manage drafts) POP clients 'do their own thing' and are likely to lead to confusion.
In respect of received mail, it is important that they are not configured to remove emails from the server as that will make them unavailable to other IMAP devices.
In respect of sent emails, POP clients do not use the server sent items folder, so (a) anything sent from the POP client is not available on the IMAP clients and (b) anything sent from IMAP clients is not available on the POP client and (c) if the purpose of using a POP client in the mix is to 'secure' the server content, then it will not be 'backing-up' the sent items.
The correct answer is to use only IMAP clients and on one of them, establish local folders into which (at regular intervals) one takes a copy of the IMAP server folders.
Kevin
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Except, Kevin, that at some point you have to clear-out your old IMAP emails anyway.  Some email providers only grant you a certain mailbox capacity and some without a formal limit still send you a stroppy letter if they think you are storing too many.  Also some IMAP clients get very slow if you have too many stored emails in the Inbox.  So why not use IMAP for the latest stuff and POP3 to archive and remove anything older than, say, 90 days?  That's my plan, anyway.  Too soon to say if it works well or not.   
Superuser
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

RR,
Quote from: Townman
As ever, it depends on what you want.

Perfectly correct in every manner, other than (personally) I'd not use POP, rather I'd use local storage folders (.ost files for OL users).  Whatever you chose as best for yourself, you need to act with care and make sure you understand what you've set up, less your sent emails end up spread over all of your devices and some cannot see any or all of the received emails.  Had too many friend's problems to sort out consequential to using multiple POP devices and / or a mix of POP and IMAP.  I tend to suggest just using IMAP, keep on top of your emails and if you really need to keep them for prosperity, then save / copy them to a local folder - but do not for get to back them up along with everything else on the computer.
As for stroppy emails on usage quotas, yes, I do get them from time to time from PN when I hit 1G ... at which time I ditch the trash!  Wink Cheesy
MJN
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Re: Use of IMAP and deleting emails

Quote from: Oldjim
Having seen another post on here it just occurred to me that there may be a problem with using IMAP on all devices.
If an email is deleted on one device it is also deleted from all the others and if an email is deleted from the server it is deleted from all other devices once they connect.

That is entirely the point (and benefit) of using IMAP. It is intended to provide a single, consistent, view of your mailbox (folders and messages) from multiple devices. When you delete a message using one of those clients it is deleted on the server next time you connect and that deletion is then picked up and echoed by any subsequent client. This behaviour is by design.
The best way to view it is that all actions - deletions, flagging (read status, marked for follow-up), moves, copying of sent mail etc - are actions that are performed on your server mailbox and replicated across all clients regardless of which client requests/performs them.
If your desire when deleting a message on a client is to free up space on only that client (e.g. perhaps you have a smartphone with limited storage space) and you want the message to remain in your server mailbox then most clients can be configured to limit how big their local cache of the mailbox is whether that be by size, message count or message date. When these limits are reached the surplus are removed only locally on that client whilst leaving the server-side mailbox alone.
Quote
[...] is it a good rule to use POP3 on one device with the email left on the server

No. IMAP is intended to be used in place of POP (and in doing so solve the vast majority if POP's inherent problems). If you use it alongside you will undermine many if not most of the fundamental benefits to be had from using IMAP.