What is IMAP?

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What is IMAP?
Business and work are today a global affair. People are traveling to far off places every single day and they need to keep in touch with their work as well as personal life. Laptops, mobile phones and a host of other gadgets are available to keep the communication going regardless of the location of sender and recipient. All these different gadgets use different technologies to facilitate the various forms of communication such as email, SMS, voice calls and conferencing. One of these technologies that is specifically used to facilitate email communication is IMAP.

IMAP is an abbreviation for Internet Message Access Protocol which is technology that allows for the access of email services from various devices. In the past email access was only possible through a fixed point which was normally a computer at home or in the office. This meant that those who were frequently travelling would not have access to their emails until they came back. As you can imagine this was a great inconvenience and obstacle to effective communication. IMAP was created as a solution to this problem.

In 1986, a gentleman by the name Mark Crispin designed the original IMAP. The idea was to have emails stored in a central server from where clients could access their emails by use of various devices. The same concept has been applied to the subsequent versions of IMAP. All emails coming in or being sent out go through the central server which will always have a copy of the email for you ready whenever you wish to access it and using any device that has the capabilities to access the email. Most popular sites such as Google and Yahoo use the technology in the email services. This is what makes it possible to access your emails on your laptop, mobile phone, PDA as well as desktop computer.

There is no doubt that IMAP technology has brought great benefit as regards communication using email. These benefits are not in terms of easier access to emails but also include lower resource requirements. Previous technologies required the availability of a lot of storage space since emails were stored on the computer. With IMAP however, the emails are stored in a central server and this means you will not need to factor email storage when allocating resources on your computer. Another advantage of the technology is that it automatically downloads new messages as long as you are connected to the internet. This means your emails will appear in real time without the need to manually check for new emails as required when working with other technologies.

In addition to the above benefits, IMAP technology also allows for simultaneous multiple accesses to a single mailbox. This means you can have several people logged into the same mailbox at the same time. You are also able to know the state of an email which will normally have a tag as either read, unread, deleted, replied among others. You can also search your mailbox for messages that meet particular criterion. IMAP is clearly great technology that has greatly eased email communication.

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