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Does iOS support IMAP IDLE on the iPhone?

5579 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 3, 2014 2:30 PM by Vmaatta RSS
startupaddict Calculating status...
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Sep 27, 2012 6:22 AM

If not, when is it going to be implemented? I have iOS 5 on my iPhone 4 at present, and I only have the option of setting my IMAP accounts to Fetch on 15 minutes intervals.


Implementing IMAP would be rather trivial for Apple and a god send to those of us who have many IMAP accounts.

iPhone 5, iOS 6
  • jonfromdaleville Level 2 Level 2 (440 points)
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    Sep 27, 2012 6:27 AM (in response to startupaddict)

    IMAP should give you the options that the ESP provides.

  • Ron Voss Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
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    Oct 11, 2012 3:17 PM (in response to startupaddict)

    Notice that in iOS 6.0 Settings/Mail.../Fetch New Data/Advanced/[your IMAP account] that "Push" is not an option, but for iCloud and Exchange accounts "Push" can be selected.


    Your IMAP ISP must also support IDLE; mine does (push works fine on my Mac), but there's no iPhone IMAP push support.

  • kooky_uk Calculating status...
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    Jun 24, 2013 4:48 PM (in response to startupaddict)

    I wish iPhone supported IMAP IDLE too.

  • NiqueXyZ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 10:51 AM (in response to kooky_uk)

    It looks like even in iOS 7, there is STILL no support for IMAP IDLE.

    How ridiculous.

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 7 Level 7 (26,520 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 10:55 AM (in response to NiqueXyZ)

    Rather than complaining here, try submitting feedback to Apple at and click on the appropriate link. Apple does not come to the forum, and we are just users here. The link I provided is the only way to let Apple know you would like to see this feature.

  • NiqueXyZ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 22, 2013 11:19 AM (in response to ChrisJ4203)

    True -- it only took two years of complaining about Lion's lack of multi monitor support for full screen apps for that to get changed   I'll go ahead and submit some feedback to the link (like I did before when Lion came out re: full screen apps putting the canvas pattern on other monitors), and *maybe* two years from now, Apple will fix it in iOS 10.  Thanks Chris!

  • Henriok Calculating status...
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    Nov 11, 2013 3:01 AM (in response to startupaddict)

    Apple will proably never support IDLE in iOS since it requires a persistent constant network connection to the mail server, which would be a pretty stupid thing to implement in a mobile operating system. A mailserver can however connect to Apple's push notification service so that'd be a thing for you to ask your e-mail provider e-ail server software provider to implement. This is how the push in iCloud works. It's IMAP with push notification enabled in the back end.

  • Init3 Calculating status...
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    Dec 8, 2013 6:14 AM (in response to Henriok)


    IMAP idle uses almost no bandwidth. The transaction in an IDLE connection are so small, I would be surprised if it added up to more than 5MB/month. Check it out: Regardless, if you were concerned about BW usage, most email clients that do support IDLE offer an option to disable when not on wi-fi. You also overlook the fact that this is already done on every other major mobile OS (Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile) You are also forgetting that iOS isn't only used on phones. So calling an idea "stupid" without knowing anything at all about the protocols and only considering the way you use your phone might have a name for it too.

    Regarding iCloud push  think you are missing the point. The whole reason the internet allows everyone to connect, transmit data and have internet arguments is standards. TCP, UDP, HTTP, SMTP are just some examples of the glue that holds the internet together. Maybe I'm biased because I work for one of those providers you might be asking to support iCloud. If I put something to support Apple's refusal to use a standard on my servers, then will I have to start supporting SamsungCloud and NokiaNet and UselessBuzzwordCloudnet?

  • NiqueXyZ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 8, 2013 6:59 AM (in response to Init3)

    Oh you, with your engineering standards and logic!  You just had to come in here and bust up all the myths about imap_idle consuming bandwidth and battery life!  How dare you!!


    I think the real reason Apple has not added this is because they want you to use their own email service, not anyone elses.  What's really surprising though, as I even stated before, imap_idle is implemented in every single mobile OS on the planet (Symbian had it, Meego had it, and now Tizen and Jolla will also both have it) *except* Apple's iOS.  Even WebOS (or what's left of it) has it.


    Hrm...wonder why that is?  Sorry for the long post / rant, but I am sick of the "you're holding it wrong" responses (this is a meme reference just in case you didn't know: -youre-holding-th/ ) when someone posts a problem and asks for help.


    That's not the way to deal with a problem, and I'm tired of the myths and lies.

    imap_idle was specifically created for mobile phones so we could get push mail on imap servers.

    Also, imap_idle uses even less bandwidth than exchange active sync.

  • Init3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Dec 8, 2013 8:22 AM (in response to NiqueXyZ)

    I know, I'm such a buzzkill. Though in all fairness, who would hold a phone with their hand? Ridiculous.

  • tr31 Calculating status...
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    Dec 11, 2013 10:56 AM (in response to NiqueXyZ)

    Hi NiqueXyZ,


    Can you please post your mobileconfig on the ActiveSync chain? We're still unable to make it work even though I think we've abided by your directions... Thanks!

  • Vmaatta Calculating status...
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    Jan 3, 2014 2:30 PM (in response to NiqueXyZ)

    Not that it matters much probably but… the point about a persistent constant network connection is not bandwidth. It's the, you know, constant and persistent part. I.e. the fact that the connection is kept alive all the time. The bandwidth requirements might be minimal but keaping a connection open is not inconsequential.


    And yeah, you are probably holding it wrong. Apple happened to be quite right in its rebuttal arguments of the antenna-gate. Sure they had a weak spot on the phone. So did many other phones and some were much worse than iPhone. And probably none were a real problem. Except maybe for lefties . Facts just don't enter the equation when hatred is fueling the argument.


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