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One issue that can arise whenever you read and manage email on more than one device, whether that includes a second computer, your iPhone, or an iPod touch, is the issue of how to keep your email on your devices synced. For example, if both your main computer and your iPhone are set up to check for and download new email messages periodically, it's possible to end up with some messages stored on your phone and not on your computer or vice versa. Now, this is generally a problem that comes up when you're managing a POP-type email account. Previously, when we were looking at how to set up email accounts, we saw that the two main types of email protocols are POP and IMAP.
POP used to be the most common type of email service used by Internet hosting providers and it basically works like this. Email that's sent to your account is stored on your email provider's server until your email program, whether it's the email program on your computer or your iPhone, notices the new message and downloads it off the server. Once the message has been downloaded from the server, it's usually deleted anywhere from immediately to within one or two weeks. At that point, the only copy of the email is found on your computer. Similarly, when you send email through a POP account, a copy of the sent message is only stored on the computer you sent it from.
If you only manage your email from one computer, this isn't usually a problem. But imagine if you use your iPhone or iPod touch to also check for and download your emails. If your computer detects a new email and downloads it before your iPhone does, you won't have a copy of that email on your iPhone, or if your iPhone downloads an email first, you won't have a copy of that email on your computer. So, it's very easy to end up with some emails on your computer, and some emails on your iPhone, and you'd have to search through both if you were looking for a specific message you received.
Now, this issue is partially addressed by default in the iPhone or iPod touch's settings. I'll go to Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and here I'll select the POP account I've created. Now, I'll choose Advanced. And here under Incoming Settings, notice that Delete from server is set to Never. This means that when my iPhone grabs new messages from the server, it leaves a copy on the server, which is then recognized by my home computer as a new message, so it will be downloaded to my home computer as well.
But this is only useful if my iPhone sees the new message before my computer does. If my computer sees the new message first, it might grab it and delete it off the server before my iPhone downloads it. So, to make sure the email on your iPhone and computer stays synced, you have to set up a similar preference on your computer's email client as well. Essentially, you want to find the preference that tells your computer's email program to leave messages on the server just like the setting on the iPhone does. If you're using Mail on a Mac, go to Mail>Preferences, and select your account.
Then go to the Advanced Tab, and uncheck Remove copy from server after retrieving a message. If you're using Microsoft Outlook on Windows, here I'll go to the File Tab, to my Account Settings, double-click my account. And here, I'll click More Settings. Under the Advanced Tab, I'll uncheck Remove from server after, in this case 14 days, but that doesn't matter because I'm unchecking it.
If you use another email program, you should still be able to find the setting to leave messages on your server. So, basically with both your iPhone and your computer leaving new messages on the server, both should have identical copies of incoming messages in their inboxes. But of course, this doesn't address the issue of sent messages being stored on two separate devices. So, if you compose an email and send it from your iPhone, a copy of the sent message will not be on your home computer, and you'll have to look on your phone if you need to check what you wrote. Really, POP email can be a huge headache when you're managing email on multiple devices.
That's why most email providers and email users use the IMAP email protocol. Unlike POP email, IMAP email is all kept and managed online. So, if you read a new incoming message on your computer, your iPhone will still download a copy of the message as well. It just won't show up as a new message since you will have already read it on your computer, and that will be reflected on the IMAP server. But that's actually a good thing because once you read an email message on your computer, you don't want to get a notification on your phone that you have a new email message only to find it's the one you already read. The important thing is that your email messages, both received and sent, will remain synced across your devices if you're using an IMAP account.
And like I said, many email providers have both POP and IMAP services available these days. So if you have a choice, I definitely recommend going with IMAP. You won't have to go in and change any of those preferences we were looking at in your computer's email programs or on your iPhone, and managing, and reading email will be a lot less time-consuming because you'll have identical information on both your computer and your device. Now, if you have an email address through your work and it's a Microsoft Exchange Service or if you're using an iCloud or GMail account, then you don't have to worry about any of this. All the email on your devices will always be synced.
The info I discussed in this movie is really only to explain the differences between POP and IMAP accounts and the impact they have on email management.
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