Pop or Imap for your email?

If you usually check and send your emails online using a web interface (like Gmail, Inbox, webmail, etc.), then this article is not for you. However, if you prefer to check/send emails using your preferred email client (like Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc.), then this article is for you.

When the time will come to set up your email account on your mail client (like outlook, apple mail, etc.), you will need to decide which protocol to use: Pop or Imap

You will need to think wisely about this choice, because once you choose one of these protocols and that you set up your email account, you won’t be able to change it.
If ever you decide to change it, you will need to reconfigure everything.

In Short

The main difference is this:

  • POP: When an email is received on one device, let’s say your phone’s inbox, and you delete this mail from your phone. When you will check your email on your computer this email will still be in your inbox.
  • IMAP: When you delete an email received on your phone it will also be deleted on all other devices where your email account has been installed. In other words, on IMAP, emails you delete on one device will be deleted on all other devices. Same apply for sent emails.

Pop Pros & Cons

POP Pros :

  • You can work offline and get access to your inbox

POP Cons:

  • To delete one email, you will need to delete this email on all devices using this email account.
  • The Sent folder will not be the same from one device to another. You might have sent a some emails with your phone, and some with your computer.

Imap Pros & Cons

IMAP Pros :

  • No maintenance is needed on any device, once you’ve deleted or sent an email. All other devices will be updated accordingly.

IMAP Cons:

  • If you don’t have an internet connection, you will not be able to view the content of recent emails.
  • Checking emails takes more time than Pop because every time your mail client (outlook, thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc…) is loading, it has to crosscheck that the emails on your device are the same ones that appear online.

Do Not Mix Pop & Imap

Some people are tempted to put Pop settings on their smart phone and Imap on their laptop…this will not work properly. Some hosting companies forbid this.

The Protocol I Use

I personally use POP, but it seems that the tendency is IMAP since Internet is becoming available everywhere.

Want to know More?

Here is an interesting article about pop & imap

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