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Switching an email account configured with POP for an IMAP account
This guide explains how to switch, in messaging software, from a POP configuration to an IMAP configuration for the same mailbox.
IMAP/POP: what's the difference?
The IMAP protocol stores your emails on the mail server, while the POP protocol deletes them from the server to store them exclusively on the computer that holds the email account. To manage an email address on multiple computers and/or with a mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) it is therefore highly recommended to use the IMAP protocol. Find out more
If your email address is already configured with the POP protocol in your email software (Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, etc.), it is impossible to switch directly to the IMAP protocol.
In addition to your email account configured with the POP protocol, it will be necessary to create a new email account with the IMAP protocol in your email software before moving your messages and folders from the POP account (from your computer) to the IMAP account (on the mail server).
We decline all responsibility in the event of lost data following these operations.
With Microsoft Outlook
First, make sure that your POP email account appears on the left side of the program under Outlook or Personal folders (zone framed in green in the image). These folders will in fact be preserved, even if the email account configured with the POP protocol is deleted. If your folders and emails are not stored under Outlook or Personal folders, move your messages and folders there before performing the following actions:
- Open Microsoft Outlook
- Open the File tab on the Office ribbon, then click on Add an account
- Configure the new email account with the IMAP protocol (the same account as the one configured under POP but this time under IMAP)
- Once the IMAP account is created, delete the old POP account
- Your messages and your folders are still in the Personal folders section
- Moveone folder at a time by dragging them to the inbox of the new account configured under IMAP
- Wait while these items are transferred (it may take a long time depending on the volume to be transferred onto the server)
If your POP account was keeping a copy of messages on the server (this option is available in the advanced settings of your Outlook but is not recommended), you may have duplicate messages.
With Apple Mail
The deletion of the account configured under POP deletes the messages it contains. Therefore, it is recommended to disable the POP account instead of deleting it!
Once the POP account is disabled, followour guide to configure you email address in Apple Mail, in IMAP.
When you have finished, just drag the messages in your POP directory to the directory of your new IMAP account.