Mac Vs. Windows. iPhone Vs. Android. PlayStation Vs. Xbox. Most of the big rivalries boil down to subjective preference, but when it comes to POP3 VS. IMAP, IMAP is objectively better than POP3 in so many ways, and POP3 is not appropriate for the modern emailer.
Using Exchange is okay is a good alternative to POP3, especially if you’re using it for work or school. Exchange is similar to IMAP, but it’s owned by Microsoft, so it’s not available in every location.
Why Does it Matter?
When picking an email client to carry your email, you must choose between POP3 and IMAP. These clients come in the form of desktop programs or apps. When it comes to web email such as Gmail or Outlook, this isn’t a choice, so don’t worry about it too much.
poP3 is not supported when it comes to Window’s 8’s Mail application, so if you have a POP3, you need to work around it to access your POP3 account. Some did not like this change, but it’s needed in order to get people away from POP3 and to a better client.
So What’s Wrong With POP3?
POP3 used to be the ideal way of accessing your email, but it hasn’t kept with the times. Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, POP3 did make sense. It allowed you to access your email on one device only, and back in those days, most only had one computer in their home. In an age where most people have multiple devices to access their email, it’s archaic to use a client that just lets you choose one. Also, POP3 makes you download the emails to your desktop. The server had poor storage, so it was vital for you to download everything. Nowadays, you can’t backup your email through automatic cloud storage, and it’s annoying to download each individual email.
There are some POP3 services that try to keep the emails on the server. Instead of deleting them, the service will mark your email as read. But they can’t be downloaded again, making this a big problem. Your email will not by synched up on your devices, or online.
At this point, you can see some major problems with POP3, and understand why companies are making the change. So why is IMAP so much better? Let’s find out.
The Benefits of IMAP
IMAP synchs, not just downloads, and synching is something that’s important in the modern age. IMAP will synch any change to the client’s server, and will treat the server as the main spot for where your email is stored, not just downloaded to your device. Business users take note please!
For instance, when you look at an email account with thousands of unread emails on a client that’s IMAP, you can look at them instantly. The emails won’t download one at a time until you’re allowed to open them. You can download files automatically, though. Also, attachments won’t download until you view them, allowing you some security. If you read an email from the server, it will be marked as read anywhere, and if you organize or delete any emails, every device you’ll be using will follow suit.
To compare, POP3 is just a downloader, putting your emails on one device. IMAP allows you to access your emails from anywhere, including cloud storage. IMAP makes sense in the modern world, while POP3 should just be a relic from the early days of the Web. It has little place in modern times.
So how does one use IMAP? It’s just an option you pick whenever you set up your account via an email program.
When it comes to outdated programs, they may use POP3 by default, and newer programs may still support POP3. But newer applications should have IMAP as its default. Double check to make sure your client is using IMAP and not POP3.
What if My Client Doesn’t Have IMAP?
In case if your client doesn’t have IMAP whatsoever, get a new client. Odds are, you’re using a program that has needed an upgrade for quite some time. Mozilla Thunderbird is a good one to choose, and Outlook is one that you can’t go wrong with. Best of all, email services like Outlook or Gmail will allow you to get your old POP3 emails, allowing you for easier access.
There’s literally no good reason to use POP3 over IMAP. However, some may see it as an extra security measure. After all, if your emails are deleted from the server and stored on your computer only, it’s harder for people to access them, right?Not exactly. If someone is monitoring online traffic, they can still archive your emails. POP3 does not improve the security of your emails at all.
So overall, if you’re still using POP3, make the change. It’s 2016, not 1995.