Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is used by applications and servers to access messages. IMAP allows you to retrieve messages without having to download it on your device but view it offline. Hence, allowing you to check your emails on multiple devices. For those who use more than one or two devices IMAP is extremely convenient. Most webmail systems are IMAP based, including Gmail and Yahoo.
How IMAP actually works?
With IMAP the email client contacts your email server in order send a message to you. Unlike POP, everything remains on the server unless you delete it.
Let’s say you have received an email but haven’t read it yet. When you log in to your email to open the email, the email client connects with the email provider’s MTA program and downloads this email and stores it in local storage. This communication happens via IMAP. IMAP is also a language (protocol) like SMTP
Benefits of IMAP
- It lets you access your emails from anywhere
- Messages are downloaded only when you click on it
- Attachments aren’t automatically downloaded, letting you have more control over attachments
- It can be used offline