Difference between IMAP and POP3

IMAP and POP3 – both are checking emails on the devices and you might have seen this option while accessing emails on gmail or outlook or other email client or application.

POP3 is short for Post Office Protocol while IMAP is for Internet Messaging Access Protocol.


POP was firstly created in 1984 and POP2 was in 1985. The current, POP3 version is widely being used. If compared, the POP3 email is the way to access your email on the server in a way that once emails are downloaded, the emails will be deleted from the server.

Because of this, the limitation is that you can’t use POP3 and access emails on multiple devices of the same email address.

In contrast, IMAP can be used to access email box through multiple devices since emails are always stayed on the server.

If emails sent using POP3, the sent folder will be empty on the server though the files will be locally stored but in case of IMAP, the files stay on the cloud.

POP3 wasn’t the best way earlier since the storage space wasn’t enough in early days but since we have ample of storage now, we don’t have to worry about that. eg, Google provides 15GB of storage for an email for free which is truly enough.

Pankaj Dhawan

Hello, I am Pankaj Dhawan starting out to share my knowledge in hope to serve you very well, as much as possible and I am open for any criticism.

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Difference between IMAP and POP3

by Pankaj Dhawan time to read: 1 min