What is the advantage of using IMAP?

IMAP is a more modern protocol. Where POP3 just downloads everything to your device and manages it locally, IMAP is more of a syncing protocol. IMAP synchronizes all changes to the server and treats your email server — not your local computer — as the primary place your email is stored.

What is IMAP - store email at ISP
What is IMAP – store email at ISP

While POP3 downloads all your emails and leaves you to manage them on your local device, IMAP nicely provides a “window” to your email account. In today’s technology world where you have more than one device that can handle email – or just want to leave your email online so you do not need be concerned about backing up and importing desktop email archives — IMAP is the best solution.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is a popular protocol that keeps your email on the server and always synchronized across your devices. For example, if you delete, send or mark a message as unread on one device, it is reflected on all your devices.

Understanding IMAP - keeps your email on the remote server
Understanding IMAP – keeps your email on the remote server

With the POP3 protocol, downloaded e-mails are deleted from the server, which means they cannot be downloaded again (e.g. from a laptop or via webmail).


  • IMAP—store e-mails on your provider’s servers. It provides you reliable off-site storage of your e-mails. There is no need to backup your email on your local computer(s). If you’re dealing with e-mail on multiple devices—say a mobile device and a desktop computer—IMAP automatically keeps everything in sync.
  • POP—stores e-mails in folders on your computer or mobile device. While theoretically more private, this also means your e-mail is at greater risk from user accidents, system errors, hard drive failures, computer theft, etc (loss of email). It also means that every device you use for e-mail may have its own folders and be unable to share folders on your other devices.

Should you decide you wish to change your Outlook email account from using a POP3 connection to an IMAP connection, you can do so in a few simple steps.

(1): Back up your mailboxes

Switching from a POP3 connection to IMAP can result in your existing email being deleted, so you need to create a backup of your mailboxes to avoid losing data.

Open Outlook and select File.  In the menu that appears, select Open & Export, then Import/Export.

Outlook - Backup via Import/Export
Outlook – Backup via Import/Export

In the Import and Export window that opens, select Export to a file and click Next >.

Outlook - Export to a file
Outlook – Export to a file

In the next window, Export to a File, select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next >.

Export as a Outlook Data File (.pst)
Export as a Outlook Data File (.pst)

You can now select the mailboxes you’d like to back up. We recommend that you back up all your mailboxes, so select your email address in the Export Outlook Data File window and ensure that the box next to Include subfolders is checked. Click Next > to continue.

Outlook - select your email address in the Export Outlook Data File
Outlook Export – select your email address

Use the Browse button to select a location on your computer for your backup. Click Finish to continue.

Export Outlook Data File
Export Outlook Data File

To keep your backed-up emails secure, you can create an optional password for the file. Enter a password and click OK, or Cancel to proceed without.

Outlook Optional Password - Migration
Outlook Optional Password – Migration

The backup will now be saved to your computer.

(2): Delete your POP account from your computer

With the backup completed, you can now delete the POP account in Outlook. You should also delete the account on other devices you use for email.

Select File from the top menu, then Info.

Outlook - Account Settings
Outlook – Account Settings

Click the small arrow next to Account Settings and select the Account Settings… option which pops up.

Outlook - Account Setting
Outlook – Account Setting

In the Account Settings window, click on your email account and click Remove to delete it from Outlook.

Outlook - Remove old Account
Outlook – Remove old Account

You’ll be warned that your offline messages will be deleted. Click Yes to continue.

Outlook - Remove old account warning
Outlook – Remove old account warning

(3): Set up your IMAP account on your computer

The final step is to create a new email account on your computer using your IMAP server details.

You can use the New… button in the Account Settings window to get started or alternatively, click File in the top menu, then Add Account.

Outlook - add New Account
Outlook – add New Account

At the bottom of the window, click the radio button next to Manual setup or additional server types, then Next > to proceed.

Outlook - Manual setup or additional server types
Outlook: Manual setup or additional server types

Under Choose Your Account Type, select POP or IMAP, then click Next > once again.

Outlook: Account Type, select POP or IMAP
Outlook: Account Type, select POP or IMAP

Now enter the IMAP server settings for your email account.

Outlook - Enter IMAP server settings
Outlook: IMAP server settings

Enter the following details:

Email Address: Your full email address. Password: Your email server password. User Name: Your email account user name. Account Type: Use the dropdown menu to select IMAP.

IMAP settings for Telstra Mail

Please note, IMAP is only available for customers using the new Telstra Mail platform

IMAP is the recommended setting for Telstra Mail customers

Account type

  • Account type: IMAP

Incoming server details

  • Incoming server address: imap.telstra.com
  • Incoming server port: 993
  • Encrypted connection: SSL

Outgoing server details

  • Outgoing server address: smtp.telstra.com
  • Outgoing server port: 465 (recommended) or 587
  • SMTP authentication: On
  • Encrypted connection: SSL/TLS on port 465 (recommended) or STARTTLS on port 587

Username & Password

  • Enter your full email address (ending in ‘@bigpond.com’, ‘@bigpond.net.au’ or ‘@telstra.com’)
  • Enter your Telstra email account password (case sensitive)

Other settings to check

  • Ensure the checkbox is ticked for ‘Outgoing server requires authentication’.

Now click the More Settings… button.

Outlook Account - More Settings
Outlook Account – More Settings

In the Internet Email Settings window that opens, select the Advanced tab.


Outlook Account - Advanced
Outlook Account – Advanced

Enter the following details:

Incoming server: Ensure the default port is set to 993 for IMAP accounts.
Use the dropdown menu next to Use the following type of encrypted connection to select SSL. Outgoing server (SMTP): Change the default port (25) to 465 (or 587).
Use the dropdown menu next to Use the following type of encrypted connection to select SSL.

Outlook Account - Ports
Outlook Account – Ports

Switch to the Outgoing Server tab.

Check the box next to My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication, then click the radio button next to Use same settings as my incoming mail server.

Outlook Account - SMTP
Outlook Account – SMTP

Click OK to close the Internet E-mail Settings window, then Next > to proceed.

Outlook will now test your email settings. If the test fails, retrace your steps, ensuring your server and account details have been entered correctly.

Outlook Test Account Settings
Outlook Test Account Settings

Once the test completes successfully, click Close and then Finish to wrap up.

Outlook - Change Account Completed
Outlook – Change Account Completed

(4): Restore your mailbox

If you wish to restore the mailboxes and email you backed up earlier, choose File from the top menu, then Open & Export.

Now select Import/Export.

Outlook - Import/Export
Outlook – Import/Export

In the Import and Export wizard window, select Import from another program or file and click Next >.

Outlook Import from another Program or File
Import from another Program or File

In the next window, Import a File, select Outlook Data File (.pst) and then Next >.

Import Outlook Data File (pst)
Import Outlook Data File (pst)

Now use the Browse button to navigate to your Outlook backup file.

When restoring your email and mailboxes, you can use the radio buttons under Options to configure how Outlook treats duplicate items.

Click Next > to continue.

Import Outlook Data File
Import Outlook Data File

If you secured your backup with a password, you will be asked to enter it once again to authorize the import. Enter the password, then click OK.

Finally, use the drop-down menu to select which folder you’d like to restore your data into and click Finish to complete.

Import Outlook Data File Finish
Import Outlook Data File Finish

The Differences between POP and IMAP

Both POP (Post Office Protocol) and IMAP (Internet Message access protocol) allow people to get access to their email from a remote server; however, that is where most similarities end. POP simply downloads email to your computer, and usually (but not always) deletes the email from the remote server. The problems arise if you have more than one device where you read your mail (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone). Here’s why it’s bad: You have to delete or file the same email on every device

Logging into each device, you will see lots of unread emails with no indication of which you deleted, read, flagged or filed Any folders you created and organize on one device won’t be replicated on the other devices

IMAP allows users to store their email on remote servers. This two-way protocol also allows the user to synchronize their email among multiple devices, which is extremely important today, when most people have at least two devices – their laptop and smartphone.

The Practical Use of IMAP

For people using multiple computers and devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, the ability to synchronize email actions among devices is essential.

When a person uses IMAP, and he or she reads, deletes or moves email into folders, the action occurs across all devices simultaneously.

Since it is possible to download only the email headers with IMAP, it’s much quicker.

Additionally, any offline changes that are made to email are transmitted to the remote server once an Internet connection is re-established.

Essentially, IMAP allows the user to archive their email on their computer or device while having a backup stored on the remote server.

Additionally, business users, especially those in professions that demand confidentiality, prefer to use IMAP since it allows for the added security email encryption affords.

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