Why Migrating from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010 is initiated?

Isha Ratra | August 4th, 2018 | Outlook

A number of protocols are deployed to allow people for using various Email Clients like Outlook. These protocols are used between Email clients and their servers to access messages. These protocols are POP3 and IMAP. And, IMAP being a better protocol has called up users migrating from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010. However, the working of these two protocols are different from each other and therein why people transfer emails from POP3 to IMAP.
POP3 is the Post Office Protocol that retrieves Email messages from the client in an IP Network. The messages by POP3 are downloaded offline from the server of the Email client. These offline messages can be deleted and saved on the server for a specific time period after the protocol is configured or could be left indefinite.
Whereas, IMAP is the Internet Message Access Protocol which is also used to retrieve messages from a client but uses a TCP/IP connection. It is a newer protocol that synchronizes messages and folders with the server and the client which makes it useful for working on multiple computer systems or connected devices.

IMAP is found to be a preferred protocol over POP3 and leads the users to convert POP3 to IMAP in Outlook, although POP3 works fine for the users working on a single device. But still, a maximum number of users demand to change POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2016
In this article, we will explore why and how to change account type from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010 ?

Why do people transfer emails from POP3 to IMAP?

Users are switching from POP3 to IMAP for their email messages. Where POP3 is a very basic protocol that downloads messages out of your inbox to the local site and once downloaded the email tends to be deleted from the inbox server which questions the redundancy of the messages. On contrary, the IMAP is considered to be a much more advanced protocol that allows the users to see all their messages on FastMail even if they are downloaded on the local desktop. The IMAP also helps in synchronization of messages and folders existing on the FastMail over the web and the personal computer system, such that enables the user to access the same data wherever and however they access their Email could be the major cause of POP3 to IMAP migration. The IMAP does maintain a track of read and unread messages across all the connected devices.

Processes of migrating from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016

The users willing to change POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2016 cannot directly migrate POP3 folders to IMAP. For a successful switching from POP3 to IMAP, a user needs to run the following processes:

  • Delete the POP3 account in use
  • Add the IMAP account
  • Transfer the files and folders

Process 1: Deleting POP3 account

  • The POP3 account is deleted to make sure that transferred items are not downloaded again and is removed from the server to ensure that no duplicacy of data has encountered.
  • Removing the POP3 account will not remove the existing emails in the system but it is suggested to create a proper backup before they move to convert POP3 to IMAP in Outlook.
  • Removing of POP3 configured account is initiated via account settings dialog box. For removing the account in Outlook 2010 , Follow
File-> section Info-> Account Settings-> Account Settings…-> select your POP3 account-> press Remove

Process 2: Adding new IMAP Account

  • Next step will be to add a new IMAP account. The new account can be added via the same dialog box used in Process 1 .
  • Use the “Auto Account Setup” wizard to fill in your credentials like Name, Email Address, and Password and allow Outlook to find the Settings required for your account.
  • If the search fails to try configuring the account manually using the option “Manually configure server settings or additional server types”. Set the Account type to “IMAP” and enter the server configuration details.

Process 3: Transfer the Files and Folders

  • While migrating from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010 , the last process would be transferring the messages and folders which were downloaded earlier to IMAP account.
  • After they have successfully added the new IMAP account, the messages which were downloaded from the POP3 account must be added to a proper folder structure in IMAP.
  • To migrate your Email data files, simply select the files or folders that are supposed to be uploaded onto the IMAP server and select the copy/move option or the user can easily drag and drop the files using the right mouse button.
  • The Inbox or Sent Items folders can’t be moved as they are the special folders. Select the messages instead of the folder to move the items.
Tip: Before you transfer emails from POP3 to IMAP, It is suggested to first empty your IMAP inbox if you earlier configured your POP3 account to leave a copy on the server to prevent the duplicacy of messages and folders.


The increasing digitalization has called for the access to data everytime and everywhere. Thus, the users of POP3 based accounts have started to migrate to IMAP. The article has explained the most convenient steps of ” how to change account type from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010 “and the reason behind the user’s switching from POP3 to IMAP. The IMAP account is subjected to do a complete synchronization between your mail client (Outlook) and the server, your emails will also be available again in the web interface of your inbox and the structure of folders will be identical. Thus migrating from POP3 to IMAP in Outlook 2010 also lets the users access their emails via another device that could be a laptop, tablet, netbook or smartphone where any sent items and read/unread status will automatically be updated to any device.
While IMAP is generally referred to as a preferred protocol, POP3 also a good option for users who use only a single machine or for some reasons don’t want to keep their emails on the server or on a cloud platform and prefer to have their messages permanently stored on their local computers.