Help my coworker's husband read his email on his phone and computer.
April 30, 2012 11:24 AM   Subscribe

My coworker's husband has an old Mindspring/Comcast email account which he checks on a PC at home. He set up his email account to download only new messages onto a device -- so if he accesses his email account from a phone, he then doesn't see any of these new emails the next time he uses his PC. I have been asked to fix this, and I'm not sure what type of settings he has set up. Do you have any ideas off the top of your head?

I asked my coworker to take photos of the PC settings with her phone, but just in case that doesn't pan out: Do you know how I could verbally walk them through this without actually seeing the settings?

Basically, the way she described it is: his email is set up to only download new messages and not all messages. So every time he accesses his email on his phone, all of the new emails download onto the phone -- and then he can't access them from his primary computer.

I'm guessing there's a relatively easy fix for this. The email is a Mindspring/Comcast account but I don't have any more details than that. Any help would be much appreciated.
posted by melodykramer to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: He's probably using POP3 on the phone. The phone can probably be configured to leave the e-mail on the server rather than deleting it.

Better solution is to switch to IMAP on the phone, if possible.
posted by kindall at 11:26 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There should be an option, in the settings on the account of the phone, to "Leave Messages On Server". Where that setting is varies from phone to phone, so he'll need to poke around to find it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:26 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: He's checking it using POP3. It needs to be IMAP. There are usually different incoming mail servers (the provider would have the list), and also a radio button where you select between the two different types of server.
posted by supercres at 11:26 AM on April 30, 2012

Response by poster: Would he change the settings on the phone or the computer?
posted by melodykramer at 11:27 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: It'll have to be both the phone and the computer.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

(I'm assuming by "the computer" we're talking about an email client like Outlook or Thunderbird; if he's using webmail on his PC then you'll only need to change settings on the phone.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:36 AM on April 30, 2012

Response by poster: Aha! It appears that his email account does not support IMAP. So I'm going to tell them to delete his account from the phone and just check it on the computer. Thanks everyone!
posted by melodykramer at 11:36 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: I'm guessing this ancient mindspring (wow!) email account only has POP3 access, and on preview I see that's true. The easiest thing I can think of, if the user would like to check this on his phone, is to setup pop3 email checking on a gmail account, which would periodically poll the mindspring account and push it into the gmail account. Then the emails would be accessible everywhere through gmail.
posted by ndfine at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Set the phone to never remove mail from the server. Set the PC to remove from server after, say, 3 days. Practically any e-mail client will let you do these. This will give him enough time to view the messages on either device, and it's up to him to remove the old e-mails from the phone periodically to keep it from running out of space.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:52 PM on April 30, 2012

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