How to access email from several devices?

  stlucia2 11:53 AM 11 Jan 13
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Answered

My email provider is AOL, and I normally access it using Outlook Express.

Having recently bought an Android tablet, I now sometime want to use it for working on my emails, but I find that if I've already opened Outlook Express (but not necessarily opened any new email that's popped up), the new emails are not available on my tablet. Outlook Express seems to have deleted them from AOL's server when it's uploaded them to my PC.

Is there a setting that will make OE leave a copy of the emails on AOL's server so that I can access them from my tablet even after I've uploaded them to my PC?

  Woolwell 11:59 AM 11 Jan 13

Leave messages on server is what you want wikihow.

In the long term you may want to consider moving from pop email to imap which is set up for several devices to be able to read incoming and outgoing e-mails.

  Ian in Northampton 12:52 PM 11 Jan 13

Like Woolwell says: the setting you're looking for is more likely to be found at the OEL end, not at the OE end. I use gmail, and that has an option to leave emails on the server, even after they've been downloaded to your email client.

  Ian in Northampton 12:52 PM 11 Jan 13

Re above: for 'OEL', read 'AOL'... :-(

  stlucia2 14:15 PM 11 Jan 13

I'm a little confused about POP3 and IMAP: My OE settings for the AOL account I'm interested in show it as a POP3 account (and I don't seem to be able to change that), but the incoming mail connection is "imap.aol.com".

On my Android tablet I seem to remember an option to "leave mail on server" when I was setting it up, but I can't find any such option in OE.

  Woolwell 14:22 PM 11 Jan 13
Answer

How to leave messages on the server for OE was in my first link.

If you are imap then you shouldn't have had the problem at all. I suspect that you are pop.

  Batch 17:02 PM 11 Jan 13

In simple terms, with POP your email is not synchronised with the ISP's (e.g. AOL) server. You download the email and typically remove it from the server once it is downloaded (although you can opt to leave it on the server if you want). With POP you download whole emails only (e.g including all attachments).

With IMAP your email is synchronised with the server (the server is the master). That is, when you connect to the mail server, what you see is what the mail server has. When you delete an email locally, it is also deleted from the server. Also, when you connect from another device (e.g. tablet), the tablet will also synchronise to the server, and so anything you have deleted from your PC will not appear on the tablet and so on. Also with IMAP you can do things like opt to download email headers only (e.g. not attachments) until you access each email.

There are 3 main options when using multiple devices to access your email:

  • All POP

  • All IMAP

  • Mixture of POP and IMAP

With All POP you would typically set all devices other than your main PC to leave incoming messages on the server. That way you can see all incoming messages from any device until such time as you have accessed them from your main PC. Downside is that once back at base you have to reprocess lots of mails that you've already seen (especially if they are just garbage) - unless you also use webmail concurrently, but that is just a pain. Also, you won't be able to see all of your email history anywhere other than your main PC.

With All IMAP the ISP's server is the master and all devices share the same view. So once you viewed an email on, say, your tablet, if it is to be binned you can do that straight away and not download it at all to your main PC. Downside is that YOUR email is being stored on an ongoing basis on the ISPs server. That is the way things are going (i.e. The Cloud), but not everyone is comfortable with that. The other upside or downside (depending on your point of view) with IMAP is that you get to access ALL of your email history.

A mixture of POP and IMAP, is similar to All POP in that your main PC can be POP and download and remove emails from the server (and so you won't be able to see all of your email history anywhere other than your main PC.). But other devices can be IMAP and so you can manage your emails whilst away from base and just download the residuals once back at base. Plus you get to store (and hopefully back-up) all you emails without them being left out in the wide blue yonder.

I would read too much in to the actual server names - they are just names. I use IMAP without problem to access servers that are said to be POP servers.

  stlucia2 17:27 PM 11 Jan 13

Thanks everyone.

Woolwell, I didn't have time to access your link this morning. Now that I've done so, I see where the option is to leave messages on the server. I've now checked it, so we'll see how it goes. Thank you.

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