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IMAP – Everything you need to know About IMAP

One way to retrieve the message from an email server

IMAP stands for Internet Messaging Access Protocol. With IMAP, you will devise a means known as a protocol. Thus, it aids help for you to retrieve messages from an email server knowing this protocol.  Do you know what you can do with IMAP? Of course, you get to synchronize applications on more than one computer, and yet, you will access the same email account.IMAP

Everything you need to know about IMAP is narrowed down here. So, carefully read on

What does it mean to Synchronize Email Messages?

Since Email messages are stored and kept in folders on an email server, you will achieve a lot. What do I mean? With an Email client on either your computer or mobile device, you can sync messages with the server. Thus, IMAP helps you to move messages from folders and still, your account view remains the same, be it directly online or via a client.

IMAP and Other Email Protocols

Apart from IMAP, You can also retrieve messages from an email server. But, IMAP seems to be the recent and advanced standard for mail storage and retrieval. Nevertheless, POP is another way to store and manage the message. But then, it can only store and manage messages locally on a computer or device. POP stands for Post Office Protocol.

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Also, POP Has more limited functions but, it deploys functions easily, is stable, and is more reliable than IMAP. POP only allows an email program to download messages to the computer or other device. Thus, you can now keep a copy on the server to download later. Also, Clients can keep track of messages that have been fetched. This can also be uncertain. There is one big disadvantage of POP. That is to say, you can’t access the same email account from multiple devices and have actions synchronize between them.

There is also one thing you need to know about IMAP. You must set up your “Client” to “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to enable you to send emails.

Cons of IMAP

  • The transition of messages you send from SMTP to IMAP makes it complex to handle. For example, a message must be transmitted again through IMAP to be stored in the “Sent” folder of the IMAP account.
  • Email functionality may get slow sometimes, making it unreliable.
  • IMAP may be difficult to implement as long as clients and servers differ. Thus, the way they interpret the standard is different.
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IMAP Extensions

Basically, standard IMAP allows for extensions to the protocol and individual commands in it. Thus, there are so many extensions that have been defined and implemented. Here, we have the most popular of them listed.

  • IDLE: This gives room for real-time notifications of the received email.
  • SORT: This also helps to sort certain messages from the server without downloading all of them.
  • THREAD: This allows email clients to retrieve related messages without downloading all mail in a folder.

Do well also to access for a complete list of IMAP extensions.

Other IMAP extentions

ACL [RFC4314]
AUTH= [RFC3501]


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