Understanding the differences between POP and IMAP

The POP protocol

The main function of POP is to access the inbox of the configured account and download the messages to the local environment (your computer, smartphone or other device). As mentioned, POP only accesses the Inbox folder of the messages, if there are other email folders that you have created they will be unavailable.

Once the messages are downloaded to your device, they are, by default, deleted from the mail server, which may generate a future problem if you format your machine, for example, where there will be no backup of messages.
There is the possibility to configure, via software, the option not to remove messages from the server, but its use is not guaranteed.

As soon as you access your email account, messages will be downloaded and deleted from the server, which means that only you can have that account configured. If you want to have the account on several different devices, POP would definitely not be a good option as a receiving protocol.
Also, since POP is limited to viewing only the inbox, the sent messages stay in a local folder on your device.
Indication for use: POP is indicated in cases where you need to back up the content of your email account.

The IMAP protocol

IMAP synchronizes messages between the server and configured devices.
It is basically a mirroring of what exists in the email server and is the same protocol used when you access your email account via browser (webmail).

Therefore, it can view the contents of any folder in the configured email account, which also includes the folder of sent emails. When you send a message through your IMAP configured device, the message is saved on the server.

Synchronisation allows the account to be set up on several different devices and to be accessed simultaneously.
If someone who accessed the account via smartphone, for example, sends a message or creates a new folder, this configuration will be reflected on the other configured devices.
Indication for use: Suitable for daily use of your email account, greater organization of the account with the use of folders and for simultaneous access through several different devices.

Reception method Download Synchronism
Simultaneous access No Yes
Viewing folder contents Inbox Only All Folders
Sending emails Saved in local folder Saved on the mail server
Indication of use Backup of the messages of the email account Daily Use

In this way, InforArte recommends the use of the IMAP protocol.