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Is Gmail IMAP or POP3?

The question we are looking to address here is whether Gmail is IMAP or POP3. For some, this is an important question even though to the masses it is something that does not have a direct impact on how their email operates. However, for those with a vested interest in it we need to perhaps go ahead and answer the question.

What Is IMAP and POP3?

First, we should briefly mention what these two words actually mean. POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol and the number 3 is simply because it is now in its third incarnation. This is actually quite an archaic way of retrieving information connected to emails that dates back as far as 1984, when the first version was released, and it just the way in which the information is retrieved from servers and downloaded to your email.

IMAP is a more up to date version, although it still dates to 1986, and it stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. The main idea of this method is that it allows people to view email from various clients and not be tied down to the one access point.

Think of it along the lines of the cloud storage idea, but for email and before the cloud was even invented. IMAP is certainly the preferred option in the modern world as we are just constantly connected to the Internet in some way, so this makes sure that our email is there ready to be read whenever we need it.

So, What Does Gmail Use?

Gmail is actually set up to use either POP3 or IMAP, but Google themselves stress that it is in your best interests to use IMAP and it is easier to set this up if you plan on trying to view Gmail via Microsoft Outlook for example. They encourage you to use this version as it makes it easier for you to view your email from various clients and the actual processing of an email is also smoother than when POP3 is used.

Setting it up is easy and Google have a help page on their site dedicated to just this very matter. It does not require a great degree of technical knowledge to set it up and it really does just take minutes to do.
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So, to sum up the answer.

  • IMAP and POP3 are ways in which emails are viewed and stored on servers.
  • IMAP is the best option for modern usage.
  • POP3 is seen as being slower, offers less functions, and is largely outdated.
  • Gmail can use both.Google advises you to use IMAP and will show you how to set it up.
  • You need no real computer knowledge in order to configure it so it works perfectly at the first time of asking.

In other words, the final decision is entirely up to you, but it is perhaps best for you to just follow the advice given to you by Google and use IMAP and ignore POP3 completely. Both are free, and at least by going for the IMAP option it is easier to use alternative email clients to view things rather than simply logging into your normal Internet browser.

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