The full-form of IMAP is the Internet Message Access Protocol which enables online access to an email inbox just like you use gmail, yahoo, or any other web based emails.
In comparison to the POP3 which is just a short from of post office protocol 3, the emails are not completely downloaded from the server and then deleted. Instead, only the message you are currently reading is downloaded. The email message remains on the server and can be retrieved from there at any time.
Email inbox of IMAP-enabled offers you several advantages:
- Email can be directly deleted from the server without being downloaded.
- First, only the header (sender, date, subject) of an email is downloaded. Then you can decide whether you want to download the email.
- You can retrieve the email box with different email clients at the same time.
- Use the mailbox on different computers, e.g. at home, in the office or on the road.
- You can also create folders on the server to better manage the messages.
- The server saves the status of an email (e.g. read/unread, answered etc.).
- This allows you to see at any time which emails have not yet been processed.
- The emails which you send can also be archived in the IMAP mailbox. You have access to your complete email correspondence at any time.