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I am considering buying an iPad 2 mainly for email on-the-hoof. I use my main PC as the central machine for email, so does the iPad have the option to mirror what is on the email server, rather than download and delete? That way I can get emails as I travel but the originals would still be on the main PC when I return home.

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Can you give us some more details on what mechanism the main PC uses to communicate with your mail server so that we can answer definitively? (e.g., POP3, IMAP) - I suspect EmmEff is correct though as I can't think of a setup where what you're describing would not be possible. – Shea Dec 26 '11 at 23:52

The iPad supports 2 Mail mechanisms that allow you to do this, IMAP and Exchange.

Both of these mechanisms allow the server to control the status of mail messages, whether they are read/unread etc, what folders they have been moved into. If you use either of these mechanisms then you can expect to see basically the same content no matter what you use to view the mail on.

The key is what email service you use, as to whether it supports IMAP or Exchange, or something older like POP3 that will now allow such consistent mail states.

iCloud accounts from Apple effectively use IMAP behind the scenes. GMail can be configured to use pretty much any mechanism, and so can also be happily used.

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Yes. You can configure it to not delete email from the server.

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The magic word here is IMAP. If your email server supports IMAP, mail will remain on the server if you wish so. – patrix Dec 26 '11 at 21:21

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