Thunderbird question - imap vs pop

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  1. Posts : 141
    win10
       #1

    Thunderbird question - imap vs pop


    I have downloaded Thunderbird and have watched an install video. I do have a question tho. If I understand correctly, it is an imap function (correct word?) rather than a POP. I guess you can choose either but it sounds like imap creates a copy of the emails on a server not just on your pc. Is this the function that then allows you to save/offload all of your emails? Thanks.
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  2. zebal's Avatar
    Posts : 900
    Windows 10 Pro x64 20H2 (Build: 19042.867)
       #2

    There are 2 protocols to get mail to your computer, IMAP and POP3.

    With IMAP your email client downloads email from server but leaves mail on server as if nothing happened.
    With POP your email client downloads all email and nothing is left on server.

    IMAP is better in that you keep a copy of all mail on server (that is your email service provider)
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  3. trevo's Avatar
    Posts : 92
    windows 10 Pro
       #3

    zebal said:
    There are 2 protocols to get mail to your computer, IMAP and POP3.

    With IMAP your email client downloads email from server but leaves mail on server as if nothing happened.
    With POP your email client downloads all email and nothing is left on server.

    IMAP is better in that you keep a copy of all mail on server (that is your email service provider)
    That is incorrect if the OP is using Gmail. You can use POP for Thunderbird with Gmail and choose to keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox. That is how I use it with several Gmail accounts...
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  4. Posts : 141
    win10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Thanks - I am getting a lot of emails that I wish to keep and I am trying to free up space on my pc. I thought if I could offload them to an drive, then I could delete them off of my pc. I guess Thunderbird won't keep a copy on the server if I delete them off my pc, right? So, If I archive them would that solve my problem?
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  5. sygnus21's Avatar
    Posts : 5,304
    Win 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 (19042.906)
       #5

    trevo said:
    That is incorrect if the OP is using Gmail. You can use POP for Thunderbird with Gmail and choose to keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox. That is how I use it with several Gmail accounts...
    You can keep emails in you inbox (whether IMAP or POP3) as long as you want as long as you don't delete them.

    Anyway, rather than confuse the OP, I'd recommend they view this article with video included - POP3 vs IMAP, which one should you choose?

    IMAP is great for syncing purposes. Say you have two PC's (A & B) with the same email account. If you read an email and delete it on PC-A, the email will be deleted from PC-B. It is also deleted (removed) from the server.

    Also with IMAP the email is downloaded to each device hosting the same email account (s). With POP, once the email is downloaded, it's removed from the server so no other devices will have access to it.

    In todays digital world, IMAP is the way to go, since you get your emails on multiple devices at the same time and have them sync'd on all devices.
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  6. Posts : 141
    win10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    So, imap or pop. My problem of saving my emails to an external device and then deleting them from my pc, is not solved. I guess there is no way to do this. I don't understand why. Thanks to all for all the help.
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  7. trevo's Avatar
    Posts : 92
    windows 10 Pro
       #7

    sygnus21 said:
    Also with IMAP the email is downloaded to each device hosting the same email account (s). With POP, once the email is downloaded, it's removed from the server so no other devices will have access to it.
    As I pointed out earlier, that is incorrect. You can choose to keep a copy on the Server with Gmail.
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  8. zebal's Avatar
    Posts : 900
    Windows 10 Pro x64 20H2 (Build: 19042.867)
       #8

    Almost every email client (including thunderbird) will let you export your email.
    You can keep your export on external drive or import it back.

    Exporting does not modify email in client or on server.
    Deleting email within client (ex. thunderbird) will get rid of email for good.

    Unless some email provider such as google which @trevo mentioned, let's you keep copy of your email on server with POP3.

    I didn't use gmail for a very long time and forgot how it works.
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  9. sygnus21's Avatar
    Posts : 5,304
    Win 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 (19042.906)
       #9

    patriceltic said:
    So, imap or pop. My problem of saving my emails to an external device and then deleting them from my pc, is not solved. I guess there is no way to do this. I don't understand why. Thanks to all for all the help.
    I'm not clear on what you're looking for, but whether POP or IMAP, you can save your emails to an external device. It's just a matter of how you chose to do it.

    That said, with IMAP, the emails are on a server, so once you get them they are still on the server until you delete them. You can delete an email from the client (local PC, or directly off the server).

    And trevo is actually confusing the issue and not clarifying what specifically they mean in disagreeing.

    And I'm in agreement with zebal
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  10. Posts : 141
    win10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    First of all, I did not say anything about anyone confusing anything so pls disregard that quote box.
    Secondly, Thunderbird allows export to an external drive. (Outlook does not?) So if I export my emails to that drive and then delete them off of my pc, they will also be deleted off the external drive? If I disconnect the drive, then they can't be deleted, right? The only confusion with all of this lies with me, not anyone on this forum trying to help me. Once again, thanks to all.
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