How to Change IMAP to POP Email

By Marina Martin

There are two main types of email accounts: POP and IMAP. A POP email account stores email until you download it into a client like Outlook or Entourage; once it’s downloaded, a message is no longer stored on the server. IMAP, however, keeps all messages on the server until you delete them (either manually or via a setting that automatically deletes messages of a certain age), so you always have access to all of your email messages no matter which client or computer you are using. Converting a POP email account to IMAP may be a simple or a challenging process, depending on your email provider.

If You're Using Gmail

Step 1

Login to Gmail.

Step 2

Click “Settings” in the upper-right corner.

Step 3

Click the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab.

Step 4

Click the radio button next to “Enable IMAP” in the “IMAP Access” section.

Step 5

Click “Save Changes.”

Step 6

Click “Configuration Instructions” in the “IMAP Access” section for information about configuring your email client to use IMAP.

Other Email Providers

Step 1

Open the “Settings” or “Options” section of your email client and edit the settings for your current POP email account. Look for a radio button or drop-down menu indicating that your account is currently a POP account, and try changing it to IMAP. Save your changes and try checking for new mail. This will work for some, but not all, email providers.

Step 2

Visit your email provider’s support website and look for information about converting your email account to IMAP. Some require you to create an entirely new email account, while others only ask you to change your mail server settings.

Step 3

Call your email provider and ask for help converting your POP account to an IMAP account.