Previous 1 2 Next 17 Replies Latest reply: Feb 26, 2008 9:15 PM by shodobe
Chuck the Designer Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
I am planning to buy an iPhone soon and am contemplating how to set up my email.

The "genius" (and I use that term loosely) at the Apple Store said only IMAP accounts work well with iPhones. The only one he could think of was Gmail, which I've used and don't particularly care for. I have a POP account and am unsure what the advantages/disadvantages are of using that with an iPhone?

And if I decide to use a desktop email client on my Mac, do I need to use Apple Mail? Or can I use Entourage 2004 (which, BTW, seems to support only POP accounts; it doesn't play with Gmail's IMAP).

Before I make my purchase, I want to know what I'm getting into with regard to mail.

Thanks.

iMac G5, iPod Nano, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • pc2k07 Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)
    Imap is made for accessing your email on multiple devices (ie: computer and iphone), and basically pop is not. Pop will only download the email to one device at a time, thus requiring you to either keep a copy on the server or get mails on one device knowing they wont show on the other. Imap allows you to see, in real time, all the email you have on the server no matter what device or how many you use to check the email. Imap is the way to go for multiple devices. I use a pay imap service, since I too did not like gmail, at www.runbox.com. This imap service works flawlessly for me and they have lots of other stuff that comes with your account, like a gig of ftp space and spam filters and such.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (123,375 points)
    A POP account is designed to be accessed with a single email client only.

    An IMAP account is designed to be accessed with an email client on multiple computers and devices keeping the server stored mailboxes for the account synchronized with the server automatically.

    Read a received message with the iPhone's email client and the message will be marked as read when checking the account with the email client used on your Mac to access the account and vice-versa.

    You can store sent messages on the server with an IMAP account which is not possible with a POP account. Send a message with the account via the iPhone's email client and the sent message will be available in the account's Sent mailbox with the email client used on your computer for accessing the account and vice-versa.

    You don't need to use the Mail.app on your Mac but it is my preference. As with most other MS applications, Entourage is very bloated and includes options I and many other people don't need or will ever use. In addition, Entourage stores ALL application data in a single large database. Something goes wrong with the database and there is the potential that all data will be lost. Maintaining a regular backup of this database is important.

    Each mailbox with the Mail.app is stored as a separate file. You can target an individual mailbox without affecting any other mailboxes and the Address Book data and calendar events are not stored in the same location.

    Entourage supports accessing POP and IMAP accounts.

    You can access a Gmail account as an IMAP account with the Mail.app or with Entourage and as an IMAP account with the iPhone's email client - keeping all server stored mailboxes synchronized between both email clients automatically. Gmail has a good spam filter on the server, has an authenticated SMTP server which will provide for sending with the account via the iPhone regardless how and where you are connected to the internet and is free.

    An IMAP account is the best choice. And a .Mac account can be accessed as an IMAP account.
  • Nathan C Level 5 Level 5 (6,260 points)
    Chuck the Designer,

    The discussion of POP vs. IMAP is kind of like do you prefer have a Post Office Box, or a secretary to help sort/keep track of your email.

    This article discusses it as well:
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=51729

    With IMAP the status of the messages is the same however you access it. If you reply to a message on the iPhone, it shows as having been replied to on web-based email, and on your computer. If you read a message on one, it shows as read on the others as well.

    If you have folders on the IMAP server, and move a message to one of those folders, it is in that folder on the other mail clients you access it with.

    POP3 was not designed for being accessed from multiple computers, and can have issues like POP locks if you check it at the same time from more than one device. For example leave your computer on checking email, and then check at the same time from the iPhone. This article discusses that issue:
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=307009

    If you do not leave messages on the server on all your mail clients, for example your computer and the iPhone, messages received on one, won't be available in other mail clients. To save on storage space, some email providers remove messages when they have been downloaded once from the server, and that will not work when accessing email from both your computer and the iPhone.

    As for providers that offer IMAP -

    GMail offers both POP3 and IMAP
    .Mac offers both POP3 and IMAP
    Yahoo offers POP3 for paid email customers, but offers free Push-IMAP for use on the iPhone
    AOL offers free IMAP accounts

    The four above have settings preconfigured as IMAP on the iPhone with 1.1.3. GMail preconfigures using POP3 with earlier versions of the iPhone software.

    Microsoft Exchange servers have IMAP service, but is often disabled by the server admin. This article discusses what needs to be configured on the corporate mail server to work with the iPhone securely:
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=307313

    A web search for IMAP email providers brings up a bunch of other options for free and paid IMAP mailbox options. Many ISPs offer both, but sometimes have to be asked about IMAP support.

    Hope this helps,

    Nathan C.
  • DanH Level 5 Level 5 (4,370 points)
    Not much I can add except that IMAP also lets you easily overcome a limitation of the iPhone's email setup: Instead of having to manually delete each unwanted message one at a time on the phone, you can access your IMAP account via web interface (using a desktop computer or the iPhone's web browser) and do a rapid mass deletion. The next time your phone accesses the account via Mail, the messages go away, and fast.

    -dan
  • Wynter Blathwayt Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    For me a combination system works the best.

    I have rock solid POP mail account with an ISP in my home country that has worked really smoothly for years now - in particular an excellent junk mail filter that saves me plenty because of the setup and training Ive done in the past.

    For my iPhone - I set up a Yahoo account which accesses that POP account and then pushes the email which I prefer when Im mobile. I have it set so that any emails pushed to the iPhone by Yahoo are marked as being sent from my POP account when I reply to them.

    Having had issues with earlier IMAP email accounts on sending and receiving attachments up to 50MB (Im also a designer), this system give me flexibility and peace of mind.

    Cheers

    Wynter

    Message was edited by: Wynter Blathwayt
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (123,375 points)
    Your ISP supports sending an attachment that is 50 MB in size - and this is the size prior to the attachment being encoded by the email client being used to send the message?

    MIME encoding - which is the industry standard, is not very efficient size wise. The MIME attachment encoding process increases the size of the pre-encoded file by roughly 50% or so. A 5 MB file prior to the encoding process becomes roughly 7.5 MB in size.

    Many ISPs and email account providers have a 10 MB overall message size limit so even if you are able to send a file that is 50 MB in size - which becomes 75 MB or so in size after the encoding process, the message would be rejected by the recipient's incoming mail server and some email clients will choke when attempting to encode such a large file.
  • CorwinRathe Level 1 Level 1 (85 points)
    I'm using a free yahoo account with IMAP and having no trouble really. It works quite will so far. I like this setup because I can access my yahoo e-mail on my browser on my laptop and then grab it with IMAP thru my iPhone. I can nly send around a 10 MB attachment though.
  • jtgaines Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    IMAP is smoother, easier, better...pop tastes good though.
  • Wynter Blathwayt Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Allan Sampson wrote:
    Your ISP supports sending an attachment that is 50 MB in size

    Yes - but its a service I pay for rather than being standard

    Allan Sampson wrote:
    - and this is the size prior to the attachment being encoded by the email client being used to send the message?

    No. An attachment surely assumes encoding. Prior to that its just a file?


    I 'm less concerned about what's industry standard or considered to be efficient - and more concerned about what works for me and the people I work with. I need to be able to send and receive large graphics files between myself and printers/publications. When you're dealing with large files like this all the time - believe me you know exactly what clients/suppliers etc can receive.

    Im yet to find an IMAP email service either free or pay that can handle these requirements hence my post thinking my personal solution might be of benefit to the OP.

    Cheers
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (123,375 points)
    No. An attachment surely assumes encoding. Prior to that its just a file?


    If you want to split hairs, it is an attached file and the attached file is not encoded until the message is sent.

    An IMAP account or POP account should not make any difference in this regard - as long as the email provider for the sender and the recipient supports sending and receiving such large attached files.

    Nothing wrong with providing your personal situation but a POP account is designed to be accessed with a single email client only. When accessing the account with multiple email clients and wanting to keep all server stored mailboxes for the account synchronized automatically between each email client used to access the account, an IMAP account is designed for this. It also provides for storing sent messages on the server so sent messages are identical between with each email client used.
  • Nathan C Level 5 Level 5 (6,260 points)
    Allan,

    As described it sounds like a hybrid of POP and IMAP. What makes it so smooth on the phone is Yahoo's Push-IMAP.

    He is having Yahoo poll his POP3 server, and is leaving messages on the server.

    Yahoo is Push IMAP, so he is using IMAP when he does access them on the iPhone.

    This is actually similar to how the some other smartphones use servers from the phone manufacturer often with a proprietary protocol, and the manufacturer's server is something akin to IMAP.

    Thank you,

    Nathan C.
  • Wynter Blathwayt Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    Chill mate - I was just clarifying based on questions you directed at me.

    My point for the OP was that you might not need to choose either one email system over another if you have them working in tandem. And the reason I use Yahoo to access my POP mail is for the same reasons you give of multiple client access.

    IMAP works great for you? Brilliant.
    POP works great for others? Also brilliant
    A system utilising both protocols performs the functions I require perfectly.

    Im happy.

    Cheers

    Wynter
  • Chuck the Designer Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    Thanks for your advice, everyone. Very helpful. I set up Mail.app to get mail from my Gmail account. It works pretty well, but can anyone explain why it's so slow?
  • pc2k07 Level 2 Level 2 (170 points)
    Im yet to find an IMAP email service either free or pay that can handle these requirements....


    My pay imap service has 100mb attachment limit, 1 gig of ftp space(that your clients could access if you wanted), 10gb of email storage...imap, pop3, wap, web mail...secure imap servers....very fast...great for dealing with large files or large emails.
    Check it out at: www.runbox.com
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