A friend is having trouble with her email on her iPhone and iPad. If she reads a message on her computer, it doesn't show as read on her iDevice and vice versa. She's with Bell/Sympatico, and from what I understand, Bell uses POP3 for its incoming mail and POP3 doesn't sync across devices. Are we hosed, or is there a way around this?

  • 2
    It sounds like you answered your question. POP3 does not sync across devices. Find out if they have IMAP servers and if they do, use those instead, otherwise, you're stuck with that behavior.
    – MaQleod
    Aug 2, 2012 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


POP is a pretty limited protocol. It doesn't do much beyond getting messages from senders and presenting them to clients (i.e. the iPhone and iPad) as requested. There's no syncing of state (i.e. read messages). Bell, like many major ISPs, only provides POP access, so your options are rather limited.

I would suggest signing your friend up for Gmail, which offers IMAP (and far more storage than Bell). Gmail can be set up check her Bell account, so that all messages to it will funnel into that account. It's even possible to set things up so that messages can be sent by the Bell account via the Gmail account, so that everything appears as it did before to the sender (although I would recommend using the new address as much as possible - it's beneficial to not have an account tied in to your service provider for flexibility).

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