Just like POP, IMAP is an email protocol with which you can download messages and store them on your local computer for offline access. IMAP lets you synchronise the online AOL email account with the one set up on your favourite email program at the local machine.
IMAP is great if you plan on accessing the AOL email account from more than one device – say a computer and a mobile phone. It will keep all your messages synchronised across all the devices. This means, if you send an email from your computer, it would show up in the Sent folder on your mobile phone too!
There are tons of email programs and as long as the client has support for IMAP, you can set up the account and download AOL email with ease. Configuring your email account in the program of choice requires:
All free AOL email accounts are IMAP and POP3 enabled and, thus, you can use either of these to download messages. So which one should you employ? Sorry, I cannot answer that – it’s your call! But here are a few suggestions.
If you want to keep the local and online account synchronised, use IMAP else go for POP3. AOL offers unlimited storage space for its email accounts and POP might be a good idea for those who want to keep a copy on the server of every message they’ve ever received. Read more on the differences between POP and IMAP.
FYI, the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) works in conjunction with IMAP and POP to send emails from your account. All sent messages are stored in the “Sent” folder.
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