The two most common ways to check email are using POP or IMAP, but both are different and should be used in different situations. If you’re setting up your email software (e.g., Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.) to check your email account, then you need to indicate how you want it to receive email - either with a POP connection or an IMAP connection. Nowadays, IMAP is becoming more popular because it gives you complete access to all email and all email folders from multiple computers or mobile devices, including webmail.
Checking your email using POP will download new email messages to your computer and delete them from the email server.
- Access : Since your email is stored on your computer, you must be at your computer to access your email.
- Storage : You don’t need to worry about running out of online storage space. Since you’re downloading your emails to your computer, you can keep as many emails as your computer can store.
- Backup : You should implement an effective backup system for your computer, in case you need to retrieve lost or deleted emails.
- Internet Connection : You will need an Internet connection to download email, but you can view your downloaded email offline (i.e., without an Internet connection).
Checking your email using IMAP will mean you’re accessing and managing your email directly from the email server, not on your actual computer.
- Access : Since the emails are stored on the email server, you can access and manage your email and email folders from multiple computers or mobile devices.
- Storage : If you have limited online storage space, you may need to delete some emails periodically to avoid exceeding your storage capacity.
- Backup : Email is automatically backed up every evening; so, if you accidentally delete an email, your email administrator can retrieve it — even up to 14 days later.
- Internet Connection : If you do not have an Internet connection, you cannot access your email.
Note: If you’re using IMAP, then you may need to adjust some of the folder settings within your email software so that your sent, drafts, and trash email will be stored in your online Sent, Drafts, and Trash folders, not on your computer.