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How do I convert my email from POP3 to IMAP?

Have you set up your info@ email account in one or more email programs, for example on desktop and an app on your mobile? Then you probably used the email protocol IMAP. However, there is another protocol. This is the POP3 protocol and will soon be obsolete. Therefore, it is important to check if you are using POP3 and convert it to IMAP as soon as possible. Below you will read what exactly the difference is, how to check it, and how to convert it to IMAP.

What is the difference between POP3 and IMAP?

With POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3), emails are downloaded from the mail server and stored locally on your device. This removes the emails from the mail server, and you can no longer see these emails in the webmail or on other devices.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) synchronizes emails between the server and multiple devices, allowing you to view and manage emails from different devices. Changes are also synchronized between all devices.

In short, with POP3, emails are stored locally in the email program on your device, while IMAP keeps the emails on the server, making them available everywhere.

Step 1: Check if you are using POP3

To make sure you are using POP3 you need to check the settings within the email program.

In most email programs, you will see the word "POP3" in the Incoming Server Settings. In case you don't see this, you can check the port. Is the port set to 110 or 995? Then you're using POP3.

Do you see "IMAP," Port 993 or 143? Then you are using IMAP and do not need to change anything.

Below you can check manuals on how to check server settings for the most commonly used mail programs:

Apple Mail
Windows Mail
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Important: Do you use multiple email programs, for example on multiple devices? Then check the settings in each email program. 

Step 2: Create a backup

We recommend backing up your email account before changing the server settings. Because POP3 causes emails to be stored locally through the email program, the emails may be deleted if you change the server settings, . In that case, you can import your backup so you can find all your emails again. If you don't, there is a chance all your emails may be lost. Unfortunately, we cannot recover these emails.

Create the email backup in the same email program you use to read your emails*.

Below you can consult the manuals on how to create a backup for the most common email programs. 

Apple Mail

*Are you using Thunderbird or another email program where you can't create a backup? In that case you can follow these steps.

Step 3: Add an IMAP account

Once you have created the backup you will need to disable the POP3 account so it cannot connect to the mail server (Note: do not delete the account!). If you don't have the option to disable the account, you can change the password.

Now you can add a new IMAP account. In this FAQ you will find the correct settings and tutorials for the most commonly used email programs. 

Step 4: Import your backup

Once you have added the IMAP mail account, you can import the backup you created.

Below you can check the manuals on how to import the email for the most commonly used email programs:

Apple Mail

Is the import successful? Then you can delete your POP3 account.  


The backup feature in Thunderbird may not work properly. In that case, you can convert your emails to IMAP in another way. In Thunderbird, you can use this method

No backup capabilities?

Are you using an email program that doesn't provide the option to create a back-up? Then you may be able to solve it in another way:

  1. Disable your POP3 email account, for example by changing the password (Note: do not delete the account!). This will prevent the email address from still being able to connect to the mail server. 
  2. Add the email address again. This time use the IMAP settings
  3. In the new IMAP email account, recreate the folder structure (if necessary). Then you can drag and drop the email messages from the POP3 account to the IMAP account per folder. This causes all messages to be put back into the IMAP account, and thus added back to the mail server. 
  4. Once you have put all the messages into the IMAP email account, you can check to be sure that these emails are now in the webmail. Does everything look okay? Then you can delete your POP3 email account.

Need help?

Unsure if you are using POP3 or have questions about creating a backup? Then feel free to contact us, we are happy to help. Send an email to or call us on +31 412 668 011, and we'll be happy to check with you!