Internet message access protocol allows you to access your email messages wherever you are. Email messages are stored on servers. Whenever you check your inbox, your email, client contacts the server to connect you with your messages. When you read an email address using IMAP, you aren’t actually downloading or storing it on your computer instead you are reading it off the server.
As the technology becomes more mobile, IMAP is becoming more and more popular. The growth of smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices is making the demand for IMAP stronger than ever. While POP will remain popular with people who only access their email via one or two devices – and those who have slow connections to the internet – IMAP is sure to remain the protocol of choice for most of today’s busy people.
The easiest way to understand how IMAP works is by thinking of it as a bridge between your email client and your email server. Email servers are always used when sending and receiving email messages. With IMAP, though, they remain on the server unless you explicitly delete them from it. If you log in to an email client like outlook it contacts the server using IMAP it then displays the headers of all your emails. If you choose to read the email message then it quickly downloads so that you can see it (Emails are not downloaded unless you need to open them).