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IMAP

IMAP

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) was designed to work around some of the shortcomings of using POP3 to read email. One problem with POP3 is that it's meant for users to do their email work offline. They log in to the server, retrieve their email, delete it from the server, and then manage their messages on their computers. Although this process works well in many situations, as users get more mobile and access their email from multiple locations, that model starts to be too limiting.

IMAP can be used in three modes: offline, disconnected, and online. IMAP is known as a superset of POP3, which means it incorporates POP3's capabilities. The offline mode is similar to what POP3 offers. The disconnected mode is similar to offline, but caches messages on a user's computer and allows the computer and server to be resynchronized.


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