Differentiate between IMAP and POP3 in Computer Network.


IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is a standard protocol for accessing email on a remote server from a local client.

IMAP is an application layer Internet Protocol using the underlying transport layer protocols to establish host-to-host communication services for applications. This allows the use of a remote mail server. The well-known port address for IMAP is 143.


POP stands for Post Office Protocol. It also acts as a message accessing agent to retrieve the message from the mail server to the receiver's system. It helps to protect emails from spam and viruses on the internet.

POP3 works on two modes − Delete mode and Keep mode.

It works on Delete mode when a user is accessing an email service from a permanent device. In this, once the mails are downloaded or retrieved from the mailbox, mails are deleted from the mailbox permanently.

It operates on Keep mode when the user is not accessing mails from the primary device. In this, it keeps the mails after retrieval also for later retrieval.


The major differences between IMAP and POP3 are as follows −

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol.POP stands for Post Office Protocol.
IMAP is an advanced protocol that allows a user to check all the folders on the mail server and is used to retrieve the mails.POP is a simple protocol compared to IMAP and used only for downloading the messages from our inbox to the local computer.
In IMAP, the user can search the content of an email for a specific string of characters before downloading.POP3 protocol does not allow you to search the content of mail for a particular string of character prior to downloading.
IMAP is powerful, complex and has extra functions over POP3.POP3 is simple and has limited functionality.
IMAP allows the user to create, delete, or update the mailboxes on the mail server and also allows to create a hierarchy of mailboxes in the folder.POP3 does not allow the user to create, delete, or update the mailboxes on the mail server.
Emails are stored on a single device once they are downloaded and removed from the server.Emails are stored on the server and synced & can be accessed using multiple devices.
We can partially read the message before finishing the download.We can only read the message once it is downloaded.