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IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) and POP (Post Office Protocol) are two different protocols used to access email accounts. The main difference between them is how they handle email messages.
With POP, email messages are downloaded from the email server to the email client (e.g., Outlook or Thunderbird) and stored on the client's computer or device. The messages are then deleted from the server, unless you've specifically set your email client to leave a copy. This means that once the messages are downloaded to one device, they are no longer available on the server and cannot be accessed from other devices.
On the other hand, with IMAP, email messages remain stored on the email server, and the email client (e.g., Gmail or Apple Mail) retrieves them as needed. When you read or delete a message on one device, the same actions are reflected on all other devices that are connected to the same account. This means that you can access your email messages from multiple devices and they will always be up-to-date.
So, which one should you choose? It depends on your needs. If you only access your email from one device or want to store your messages locally, then POP may be a good choice for you. However, if you access your email from multiple devices or want to keep your messages stored on the server, then IMAP is the better option. Overall, IMAP tends to be the more popular choice for modern email users, as it offers greater flexibility and convenience but is more difficult to migrate your email account to another service provider if using IMAP because there is no direct migration service for moving emails between systems and they are all independent from each other.