Should you use POP3 or IMAP? The first thing you need to do before making a decision is to understand what POP3 and IMAP are. Secondly, you need to understand the differences between the two.
Both POP3 and IMAP are email protocols that companies or ISPs use to receive email, be it to an email client such as Outlook or a mobile device.
POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) has been around for decades. It is the standard way that a mail service receives email from a mail server, via download or pull. If you decide to configure your email client to connect to your mailbox using POP3, the client or device has to contact the email server and mailbox and allow them to download the contents of your Inbox to their device or mail client. The mail will only exist on that local storage and will not be available to download via another client or device. However, It is worth noting that you can enable a setting to keep a copy of the email on the server thus making a copy of the emails available for others to pull the same mail.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is recent compared to POP3 and is used by mail products to view your mail as opposed to downloading it. When using IMAP, you can simply connect to the mailbox and display its full contents without actually downloading the content locally. This has the benefit of allowing you to manage your mailbox from multiple clients and devices, all the while maintaining access to the same content.
Which one should you use?
The protocol you decide to use depends mainly on how you like to access and manage your email.
If you are likely to be viewing your mail from multiple locations, mail clients or devices, IMAP is probably your best option. IMAP will allow you to manage your mailbox from various locations and clients while the actual mailbox content remains on the providers mail server. If you were to attempt the same using POP3 by enabling the Keep a copy on the server setting, you would essentially be creating multiple copies of your mailbox.
If you are simply going to be using one email client and do not want to worry about reaching your mailbox’s full capacity due to a constant influx of email, then POP3 is the way to go. It provides a simple service which will allow you to download all of your mail to one location, and manage it yourself. The mailbox on the providers server will remain empty or close to it, as a result, so you would never have to worry about reaching your maximum limit.
If in doubt, use IMAP. It will give you the ability to manage your mail from a client or device while and you will always have the peace of mind that your emails are backed up by the mail server host. On the other hand, if you are only accessing your mail from one place and want to keep all your mail local, POP3 is a better option.
It’s also good to know that POP3 doesn’t support read/unread messages across multiple devices, even if you leave a copy of the messages on the server.
whats considered the upside of pop3 for mail downloading to a ‘single location’ when used in conjunction with exchange?