Understanding Apple's Mail and IMAP

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Huntn, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Huntn, Dec 22, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #1
    I've always struggled with Mail. I blame my confusion from going from Pop to IMAP. POP was simpler. Mail sat on server. When you used a POP connection mail moved from server to your computer. Imap is harder. Anyone have a good description (or link) on how imap works?

    Here are my questions:
    1. If you don't have a .mac account is there an easy way to keep Apple's Mail synched up on two machines? Is it as easy as keeping your mail folders (library) and apple mail plist file (preferences) synched up using a synch program?

    2. When you open mail, with imap accounts it automatically goes to your account servers and seems to synch up the online version to what is on your computer. Launch Mail and in the activity window all sorts of things happen such as "synchronizing with server". This is before you tell Mail to "get mail". I'm wondering if the "get mail" is what puts a copy of emails on your computer or does just opening Mail with imap accounts do this?

    3. If I had my choice, and mostly I do just use Google Mail online. However I want to have electronic copies of my emails for the day that the online cloud evaporates. Any easy way to accomplish this? I know there is something called G-Mail backup, but I wonder about it's functionality if I ever really had to rely on it. As of right now I'm using Mail for this purpose. Maybe Mail is the easiest way?

    Thanks!
    -Dave
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Message_Access_Protocol
    http://www1.umn.edu/adcs/guides/email/imapvspop.html

    You'd have to leave your messages in the Inbox and log in from each machine.

    What? Mail can't get the messages without contacting the server.

    Set your mail account to keep a copy of the messages on the server.
     
  3. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #3
    With IMAP mail stays on the server, so that any device that connect to the mail server sees the same thing. Mail.app gives you the option of storing a copy of the mail locally also, in case you are offline and need your mail.

    IMAP much much better than POP if you have more than one device since all devices will see the same thing.

    There is no need for any syncing software since all devices read the mail off the server and see the same thing.
     
  4. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    #4
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    The folder tree appears in the "Inbox" in Apple Mail.
     
  6. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #6
    The only way you can keep your mail "synched up" as you say is using IMAP. Although as others have already said, your different computers/devices are actually just looking at the same mail on the IMAP server. You can do IMAP with Gmail as well by the way.
     
  7. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #7
    Thank you all for your help. When Mail starts up it contacts the imap server and synchs. What is the purpose of Mail's "Get Mail" button?

    In Mail there is a category of email listed as "on this computer". I want Mail to stay in synch with my Google Mail accounts and I want copies of those emails on my computer for backup. How do I do that?

    In the above situation, if I am looking at my google mail from two different computers, will the act of "getting mail" download mail to one computer. Will that change what the other computer sees?

    Thanks! :)
     
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #8
    You can set Mail to poll the server on a set interval. I can't remember what the choices are, but I nkow every minute and every hour are two of the options. "Get Mail" would be used if you wanted to poll the server at that instant.

    Highlight the messages you want, Copy them, then Paste them into the "On My Mac" folder. Then you can move them into the folders you want under the "Inbox" menu.

    If you have the computers set up the same the only thing that will change are the local folders and the "read/unread" status.
     
  9. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #9
    You don't want to have anything under the "On The Computer" Section since then it will only be on that computer and not others, you want to keep everything on the server. To get mail to keep a copy of your mail on the hand drive as well as the server go to Mail->Preferences->Accounts->GMail->Advances->Keep Copies of Messages for Offline Viewing: All messages and their attachments.
     
  10. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #10
    Thanks

    If you make this selection in preferences, will the messages that sit on your computer still be subject to the email management you execute on the server? I would prefer this. The example is when I delete messages on the server, would they also be auto deleted on the computer as well? Or with this preference selected would you now have to manage the messages on the server separately from the messages sitting on your computer, in my example, make separate deletions?

    Thanks all for your patience in all of these questions.
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    If you are using a IMAP service like MobileMe or GMail that support the IMAP IDLE command and your email client supports IDLE (like OS X Mail app does), the "get mail" button is redundant and you never need to use it. In OS X Mail app I have "Check for new messages" set to manually and my mail arrives in Mail app as soon as the server gets it without me clicking "Get Mail." New mail is pushed from the server to Mail app as soon as the mail comes in to the server.

    If you use IMAP email you can have email clients on dozens of machines and they will all mirror each other with what is on the server. This is the inherent advantage of IMAP.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAP_IDLE
     
  12. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #12
    Yes, if you use the option I describe, any email management on the server will filter down to the local copies also.
     
  13. Huntn thread starter macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #13
    Thanks for your help. I did not have this selected. I'll test it soon. :)
     

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