Most users today make use of multiple devices to view e-mails, which include PC, Tablet and Cell Phone.
You might check your Email at Work on the Office Computer but also later want it available at home on your Laptop or Phone.
In order to ensure mail is available to all devices you need to configure an IMAP service as opposed to POP3. The older POP3 mail client (Outlook, Thunderbird etc.) collects and then deletes the mail from the server and then stores the mail on the local PC. This is great news for the server as it ensures the mailbox quota (account disk space usage) is efficiently maintained and can never really get full, however the problem with this concept is that when the PC downloads and deletes the mail, the tablet or phone will obviously not have access to this mail.
In the early days of email and as the popularity of mail grew, so did the POP3 mail client features like Pegasus Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook Express and so on. They introduced features like “Download Mail Headers”, “Delete mail after X days” and “Leave a copy of the mail on the server”, which today still exist and are used widely as ways of maintaining the mailbox quota.
One of the main differences between IMAP and POP3 is that POP3 is essentially limited to the Inbox, while IMAP is able to manage all folders.
IMAP as a service being more advanced uses the server as a storage repository for mail. The PC/tablet/phone essentially synchronizes with the mail on the server and allows the user to view/move/delete. Herein lies the problem for many users as a general hosting account default mailbox quota is 250Mbyte. Once the quota is exceeded mail is rejected and the sender receives a kickback message saying “Mailbox quota exceeded”.
There are a few ways to manage the mailbox and its associated folders, but if you are a user that has multiple devices and you are reliant on mail it would be wise to find the best way to manage the space allocated to your mailbox.
If you want quick and easy mail and most of the time work on the mail via PC, POP3 with a setting like “Delete mail after 7 days” would probably be ideal. If you travel around, are very reliant on mail and often require access to all mail in all folders via phone, tablet or PC, IMAP is what you will need.
If your IT consultant doesn’t know the difference between POP3 and IMAP please DON’T let them setup your devices. Often the local cell shop guys don’t have a clue as to what they are doing regards mail account setup or the available space limitation and management of the space, so please get someone who has some idea.
Here are some video tutorials on Outlook that gives some good information:
Quick video on how to move mail to local storage in Outlook 2010.
A useful video on setting up Outlook features.
Depending on the Version of your Outlook Email Client or the actual Email Client you are using your Areas might look slightly different but in essence they all do the same.