While setting up an email account, you are asked for selecting an email protocol and you choose either IMAP or POP. However, your selection of email protocol highly affects your email sending and receiving process. While POP or Post Office Protocol is one of the famous protocols, IMAP or the Internet Message Access Protocol is also getting popular and becoming the choice of users. Let us understand this new liking of users, which is IMAP, in deep by knowing how it works, a comparison between these two email protocols, and IMAP’s improvements in the latest Outlook version (Outlook 2013).
The IMAP enables you to access your emails wherever you are. Therefore, it works as an intermediary between your email client (like MS Outlook) and email Server. The email messages are saved on the Server. Whenever you try to check your Inbox, the email client contacts the email Server for providing your email messages. In IMAP, the read email messages are not downloaded or stored on your computer, but they are read directly from the Server. This provides you an easy atmosphere for checking your emails from various devices without missing even single piece of information.
Comparing the Working of IMAP and POP:
Some people have misconception that IMAP and POP are interchangeable. POP when connects with your email Server, downloads all the email messages from it. Once an email message is downloaded by using this protocol, it disappears from the Server. In this way, you cannot check your emails from a different device, as the messages that are downloaded on other device will not be available here on the server. This clearly indicates the POP works effectively for those who check their emails messages from a single device. Therefore, those who travel more or want to check their emails from different devices prefer IMAP protocol.
Benefits of Using IMAP:
Apart from the capability of accessing emails in various devices, IMAP has some other advantages as well. The second advantage is it only downloads a message when you click on it. That means you do not have to wait for all the messages to download from the server and before you can read them. The third and the biggest advantage of using this email protocol is it does not download attachments. This indicates that you will be able to check your emails more quickly and have more control over which attachment is to be downloaded and opened. Last but not the least, IMAP can be used offline as well, just like POP; so with IMAP, you can enjoy the advantages of both email protocols.
Improvements in IMAP for Outlook 2013
In this way, IMAP is a crucial protocol for various Outlook customers, despite that the Outlook versions prior to Outlook 2013 do not provide the level of quality that is expected from products, such as Outlook. Seeing the feedback from their users, Microsoft has done significant enhancement to IMAP. These improvements are:
• No Waiting for Syncing to Get Complete: In this new version of Outlook, Outlook 2013, Microsoft has involved the feature wherein the synchronizing and sending of messages is done in the background. Therefore, in order to use Outlook, you need not wait for long time as synchronizing or sending is going on.
• Customized Syncing: Outlook 2013 also enables you to choose the number of emails to be synced and how many should be kept locally. For this, you have to tell Outlook for only synchronizing the emails, which are newer than some specific number of months, like 3, 6, or 12 months. This setting can be found under ‘Change account setting’ option.
• Notification for New Emails: Another common request that many customers have given is notification for new emails. However, this bug has been resolved and this feature is supported.
• Recognition of Specific Folders like ‘Trash’: Your Outlook recognizes the special folders in your mailbox (such as Trash’).
• Limit on Amount of Emails: This feature is especially useful for the users who have the problem of bandwidth. If the bandwidth is costly or there are other such constraints regarding it, then limiting the amount of emails that you can synchronize can be worthwhile. This gives you a fast working Outlook 2013.
Mentioned above are the new improvements in IMAP in Outlook 2013, which not only will improve the speed of your Outlook with IMAP, but also provide you an easy way to work. However, irrespective of these improvements, this new version of Outlook still has some ambiguities and some well-known features are still not included with it. These features are:
• Outlook 2013 does not support ‘Download Header Only’ of IMAP.
• Apart from this, the categories are still not supported for IMAP accounts.
It is a clear cut fact that the best experience with Outlook is when we have all the emails that can be downloaded. IMAP does not support categories and the developers too are unable to involve a feature that provides the categories (including the name and color of the category) that you assign on a computer. These are stored on the server as well and available to all other computers; moreover, even available on the same computer, if you have recreated your profile.
This is overall gist of features, advantages, and improvements of IMAP for Outlook, especially IMAP for Outlook 2013. By understanding the pros and cons of it, you can work with your email client more efficiently.