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I somehow have multiple accounts for the same email address - they both receive messages sent to that address but one (the POP) has hundreds of emails in the Inbox and Sent, going back years and the other (the IMAP) has four in, going back a week, and none out.

In Mail>Preferences>Accounts they both appear, one with a grey IMAP beneath it and one with a grey POP.

In Settings>Internet Accounts they also both appear, this time with a grey Mail and a grey Notes beneath them.

Is there any reason why I should want this setup, and what is the best way to rationalise it (which I would like to do by removing the POP, but without losing emails)?

  • What os is running? – bmike Feb 9 '17 at 13:17
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You don't have two email accounts. You just have two email protocols set up.

From Wikipedia:

Virtually all modern e-mail clients and servers support IMAP. IMAP and the earlier POP3 (Post Office Protocol) are the two most prevalent standard protocols for email retrieval, with many webmail service providers such as Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail also providing support for either IMAP or POP3.

The major differences between POP and IMAP is that POP supports the "download and delete" methodology and IMAP "synchronizes" its content between the server and client thus allowing you to have multiple email clients updated.

With the setup you have, the POP protocol negates any advantage you would have gained with IMAP since it downloads and deletes the message meaning there is no longer anything for IMAP to sync.

So, which one to use?

If you want sync'd emails across devices, keep IMAP. If you have only one device and you want to save your emails locally, use POP.

You can remove your POP email protocol by deleting it, but if you want to save your messages, you can create a "Saved Message Folder" under the IMAP account and move everything from POP there. Once copied over, delete the POP account.

  • I largely agree with what you've said, but I don't necessarily agree with the statement: With the setup you have, the POP protocol negates any advantage you would have gained with IMAP since it downloads and deletes the message meaning there is no longer anything for IMAP to sync. My reason for this is that users may have their POP accounts set up to not delete emails from the server, or to not delete until after a period of time, in which case an IMAP setup would still have a role to play, especially if the POP account was only there to download everything onto a single device. – Monomeeth Feb 9 '17 at 12:09
  • @Monomeeth, while what you say is technically true - the key statement from the OP is "they both receive messages sent to that address but one (the POP) has hundreds of emails in the Inbox and Sent, going back years and the other (the IMAP) has four in, going back a week, and none out." POP is default and not syncing the mailboxes. Chances are, POP is set to delete after a given amount of time. – Allan Feb 9 '17 at 12:14
  • Sorry, I should have clarified my comment - I was just wanting to make the point for others who may read your answer. But yes, I agree - as the OP's situation currently stands, you're absolutely correct. – Monomeeth Feb 9 '17 at 12:17
  • @Monomeeth - no worries...thanks for keeping me honest. ;-) – Allan Feb 9 '17 at 12:21

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