Setting up an email account is usually one of the basic things we do when we acquire a new smartphone like the Samsung #GalaxyS6 so we deem it necessary here to discuss the main difference between POP (POP3) and IMAP server types.
This post is in response to a letter sent by one of our readers regarding setting up an email account and what app to use. To be fair to the sender, we are publishing the letter in its entirety so our Android community will get the full picture of our brief discussion below.
Hi. I bought a Galaxy S6 recently and last two weeks I spent learning, way more that I wanted, about POP3 and IMAP differences as my Galaxy S6 DELETES all messages from phone as soon as I check them on my PC with Outlook.
I am former user of BB and this was never the case. I found out that BB had additional server maintaining the messages for BB users and that’s why I apparently could see those copies of my messages on BB, even though they were deleted long time ago from my ISPs email server (I had copies five years old on my BB) by checking emails on PC’s Outlook.
So I always had a set of copies of all emails on my BB; they never been deleted from my ISP mail servers just because their copies were download to the phone (I have a domain maintained by Crazy Domains here in Australia). And after checking emails in my desktop PC Outlook they still were present on my BB even though that checking of emails via Outlook was deleting all emails from the mail server.
So I basically had two sets of INDEPENDENT copies of my every day emails: one on BB and one in Outlook at home.
And I could work with the emails on the phone in one manner, and use the same emails in my Outlook in completely different manner and changes in these sets were never impacting the other set. And servers were always “cleaned” at least once a day or once a week by our Outlook on our PCs. This also never had any impact on any of these two sets of emails.
With Galaxy S6, even though they have claimed when I researched this phone, that they can be setup to POP3 or to IMAP and have these two protocols full behavior, it appeared after I bought that phone that they kind of misled me.
The device emails accounts setup to POP3 download the copies of all emails to my S6 and , as I unchecked that option in the POP3 setup, they stay on the server. So it was working as my BB before until this moment.
Big difference is that the checking emails on my Outlook, which is setup as POP3 with delete from server option checked, causes my Galaxy S6 reflecting these deletion from server done by Outlook! I have got Samsung service technician logged remotely to my mobile to check it and they have given up and directed me to the Samsung store in Sydney for direct support, which I did.
They told me there that Samsung S6 actually does not work that way on POP3 setup! Samsung will always delete messages from phone if they were deleted from the server! Regardless of which protocol Pop3 or IMPA is used for email account setup! That is something that they did not mentioned when I was researching this phone. POP3 on every providers webpages is mentioned as POP3 will allow you to store copies of emails on your phone. And that it is not cached copies as POP3 is not for syncing devices to servers. That role was built in IMAP protocol.
Unfortunately in Samsung phone there is no difference between POP3 and IMAP setups except for little things like syncing the Read / Not Read status etc., as IMAP allows for syncing to one source, which is always to the server.
My perception of security for my data and personal information does not allow me to feel comfortable to store any data on any external servers, clouds etc.
So I do want my emails to stay forever in My Outlook and I want them to be also stored forever on my mobile phone. Even though they are going to be deleted from server over a weekend when I check all my emails on desktop PC’s Outlook.
Samsung tech guy in the Samsung store advised me to check MS Outlook app for Android. And I did. But big disappointments come when they, again claiming that the can get this app setup as POP3 and/ or IMAP, in the app there is no option to get concrete to OTHER servers, it is only IMAP available among other options like Gmail, MS Exchange, Outlook.com etc.
So when I tried that what it does it is exactly an IMAP behavior. Emails get deleted from other device or server just because I deleted it from first device. But at least it behaves exactly as advertised.
On MS webpages for this app it even says” Setup for POP/IMAP: set the option to IMAP. If you want POP use the email account on your Android phone (!!!). So the MS Outlook app does not do what the MS advertising it can do? Same story as Samsung.
Now, Samsung also told me that BB was completely different system as for this additional server, and smartphone would never work like that. I found this to be abruptly not true.
Six months ago I have setup my wife’s iPhone 6 (which is a smartphone) and it is working exactly like expected from POP3 setup. She has copies on her mobile of her emails from as far as March this year, even though she checks her emails on home Outlook every weekend. And her account on Outlook, that I have setup myself, is also setup as POP3 with checked option to have emails deleted from the server. And her account server is empty. So iPhone is absolutely capable of behaving exactly as expected from POP3, but Samsung is not.
And iPhone also has an option OTHERS when I select email account type among: Gmail, Outlook.com, MS Exchange etc., during the setup process, which allowed me to setup my wife’s iPhone email accounts as true POP3. Outlook app for Android does not.
I have been so disappointed with Samsung that I intend to go and return this S6 “creature” and argue full refund.
Therefore question for you. In details:
- Is there any way or any app to work with Samsung Galaxy S6 as described above (apparently KIES does not work with S6 anymore as concept of hardware of S6 is very deferent from S5 or S4)
- If yes, what is it and how to set it up?
If you can answer both, you would really help me. — Paszczak
Before we answer the two specific questions being asked here, we think it as imperative to delineate what POP3 and IMAP is. While choosing between POP3 and IMAP is purely a matter of personal preference, we recommend that you use IMAP, especially if you use to access your emails on more than one device.
What is POP3 and IMAP?
POP3 and IMAP, in simple terms, are ways to download emails from a remote server to a computer or email client (like a smartphone or tablet). Downloaded emails can then be acted upon by a user even if the device (computer, smartphone or tablet) is not connected to the internet.
How POP3 works
POP3 is an old technology designed to answer a prevalent problem of its time–lack of storage space. It was not uncommon 10 or 15 years ago that your internet service provider or email service provider could only spare a decent amount of MB for your email@example.com email. Instead of spending for server costs to keep their subscribers’ emails (like what Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, etc) are doing right now, ISPs and email service providers before passes the burden of storing emails to their subscribers via POP3. This means that they are not bound to store emails of their customers on their servers when their allocated, say, 10MB storage, is used up.
Subscribers who have a lot of email messages can use POP3 instead to download their emails to their machine. Downloaded messages are then stored locally to that particular device only. Keep in mind that downloading emails via POP3 automatically deletes the emails from the ISP’s or email provider’s servers, thereby freeing the 10MB allocation again. If the allocated storage is used up, incoming messages for that email address will just “bounce” back to the sender.
POP3 technology also means that only one machine can access an email once it has been downloaded from the server. Messages are stored locally so if, for example, you download emails to a laptop all the time, you will literally lose all of them if ever the hard drive goes bad. POP3 users must ensure that they do the additional task of manually creating a backup of their emails to prevent a catastrophe like this from happening.
Right now, modified POP services try to emulate IMAP in a way by keeping a copy of emails in remote servers after they are accessed by a device. This is done by marking an email as read so it will not be downloaded again to the same device. This is probably what Paszczak is referring to when he said that he was able to download the same email on his BlackBerry phone and PC Outlook, and was able to interact with them without the results being reflected to the other device.
Marking an email as read or putting it to different folder is only happening within the email program of a device; they won’t be synced to other devices unlike when you are using IMAP.
How IMAP works
IMAP is more suited for today’s users with multiple devices at their disposal to check emails. As mentioned, any changes done on one device gets reflected to another. Changes to an email account like adding of folders, or deleting or moving of emails is synced online and doesn’t happen locally within the current device.
IMAP protocol primarily saves emails in remote servers, although most email clients nowadays allows users to specify how many email can be saved locally for a specific period.
Which is better? POP3 or IMAP
Both POP3 and IMAP have their own strengths and weaknesses and it’s up to you which protocol to choose. Folks who are concerned about email security may prefer POP3 over IMAP simply because only one device is given access to messages. IMAP, on the other hand, is a little bit unsecure as any device previously given authority to access your email will show everything. The thing, email as it is, is an inherently unsecure form of communication as it is broadcast in plaintext. Any dedicated hacker with the right tools can easily intercept your messages regardless of your email server type.
As mentioned earlier, many email clients (apps) now pick IMAP as default although a few could still be leaning towards POP3.
To answer Paszczak’s questions, the only thing that matters actually is your choice between the two–POP3 or IMAP. If you want to replicate your BlackBerry experience, simply pick POP3 when setting up your email account. The email app you will be using is not relevant. The stock #GalaxyS6 email app works equally well with other third party email apps though.
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