What is IMAP?

As we receive, manage, and send email messages, the process uses particular methods, or email protocols, which define our interactions with the email servers. An example of such protocols is the Internet Message Access Protocol or IMAP. It allows end users to directly view and manipulate email messages stored on an email server without downloading them.

What is the purpose of an IMAP?

Thanks to an IMAP, end users can read and manage email messages stored on an email server. Therefore, they can classify or delete messages, and any change made is taken into account from all other devices they use. Please check our best practices for less polluting mails to manage your emails better.

IMAP: pros and cons

End users are generally not asked which email protocol to use for their email access. Perhaps, IMAP sounds too geeky. However, there is a lot that we need to know about email protocols to make the best of our emailing experience. Here, we take a look at the basic pros and cons of IMAP.

Advantages

A lot of email clients let end users interact with email messages through IMAP, and here we want to point out four major benefits that enhance user emailing experience.

    1. You can access your email messages anywhere and from different devices. You can manage your emails on your PC, and next time you don’t have access to your PC, you can simply use your smartphone and see the same emails. Check out our simple guidelines on how to configure your mailbox for better mailbox management.

    2. Your device will not download all your emails, therefore, it will not take much time. It will only download the headers for you to make a selection of what to read, and by opening a particular email, your device will only download that one email. That process will save valuable space on your local drive. This is particularly the case with useless spams that, if downloaded, will fill up your storage space. Learn more about how you can protect yourself against spams for better management of your email account storage.

    3. You are able to store emails on your local storage, and they will synchronize when your device is online.

    4. All of your email messages are stored on an email server, so you don’t have to worry when your device fails.

Disadvantages

IMAP has limitations, and this is mainly due to email messages being stored on an email server.

    1. Email server storage is limited, and you would need to upgrade if you need more space.

    2. The servers where messages are stored may not be safe, so hackers can get to hack them and access all your messages.

    3. Offline reading has to be a feature provided by your email client.

What are the alternatives to IMAP?

The main email protocol that offers a different method of viewing your email messages is the POP, or Post Office Protocol. It allows you to download all your messages onto your local storage and manage them from there. Once downloaded, your messages are deleted from the email server, so they are no longer accessible from other devices.
This process is usually suitable for offline reading. Other email protocols include SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which is used alongside the other two when it comes to sending emails. Please read more about similar issues on Cleanfox. We want to equip you with knowledge and tools to help you better enjoy your experience with email clients.