What is the difference between IMAP and POP? These are two popular protocols for email management. Included here are definitions, similarities and differences between these methods.
IMAP: Internet Message Access Protocol
POP: Post Office Protocol
Mail Server: Where your emails are downloaded from
Mail Client: The software you use to send and receive emails (e.g. Outlook, Mac Mail)
Similarities between IMAP and POP
Usually what happens is that businesses connect a Mail Client to their Mail Server that enables them to manage email, including sending, receiving, storage, etc. IMAP and POP are both protocols that enable the transfer of information between a mail client and a mail server.
Let’s say you have a business where you use the mail clients on your PC and iPhone to manage your email. When you log into your mail client using POP, the actions you take (e.g., deleting an email) are limited to the client – they are not communicated back the mail server. This means that your email status across your devices and mail server will not be synchronised. When you log into mail on another device, the deleted email will not appear as having been deleted.
In the same situation using IMAP, the action you take on one device will synchronise across your devices, because with IMAP the status is communicated back to the mail server and updated accordingly on all related devices. The email you delete from your PC will also be deleted from your phone’s email inbox. Using IMAP, especially with multiple devices, accounts, and users, makes sense because all of the email activity is kept up to date across devices.
What is the difference between IMAP and POP?
This is a somewhat superficial review of the differences between IMAP and POP, in that within each protocol’s configuration are the opportunities to achieve different types of results in performance and effectiveness, depending on the situation. However, generally and broadly speaking, IMAP is the one to use in order to easily manage your business email communication.