Is it possible to convert an IMAP account to a POP account?
July 18, 2006 9:44 AM   Subscribe

How do change an IMAP account to POP?

Moving to a new mail server, which doesn't support IMAP yet. Natually I have several IMAP accounts, which I'd like to continue using.

So is there a way to do this? Thunderbird 1.5 is the main mail app for these accounts, both windows and mac versions. I found several solutions for converting POP to IMAP (in thunderbird), which involved dragging and dropping folders, but nothing specifically for IMAP to POP. Do you think downloading all the mail from the IMAP account and draggin to a new account would work? Are there any other suggestions for doing this? I have access to Mac and PCs, though only up to 10.3.9 on the mac, latest XP install on the PC.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Best answer: That's exactly how you do it. Make local folders that match your IMAP tree, and drag & drop messages.

Basically reverse the POP -> IMAP directions with Thunderbird and you're set. I've had to do this a few times for those silly users that absolutely insist on using POP.
posted by drstein at 10:12 AM on July 18, 2006

The thing is, this isn't an entirely logical question, because of the differences between the underlying technologies (IMAP and POP). So maybe you can clarify, based on the differences:

- IMAP typically keeps your messages on the server, whereas POP typically doesn't;
- IMAP can maintain a server-side folder hierarchy, whereas POP cannot.

So, in other words, if you're looking to replicate your entire server-side IMAP folder structure and message store on a POP mail server, you can't. You have to designate a local computer that will serve as the place where you have all your mail downloaded and stored into folders. (Note that "local computer" might mean a computer with Outlook -- which makes getting to that mail from other computers more difficult -- or it might mean some web-based mail client, so that you can log in and view your mail from anywhere.)

I guess I don't get what you mean by having several IMAP accounts that you want to continue using -- if your mailhost is moving off of IMAP and onto a server that only supports POP, you can't continue using those IMAP accounts.
posted by delfuego at 12:04 PM on July 18, 2006

Response by poster: All I need to do, really, is transfer all the messages into the IMAP account into the POP account. I realize they're different and POP is, IMO, inferior, but for the moment it's what has to be used.

All I needs is messages!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2006

You really don't need to transfer the messages from account to account, only to use the same email client and make sure you have it set to download everything on the IMAP server. Download all your mail that's currently out there, then switch to the POP server for all new incoming mail.

POP kind of sucks at storing messages on the server for an extended period so you probably want to set your client (or one of them, if you use a web interface plus a standalone client) to delete messages after retrieval. The alternative is to set one client to delete messages from the server after a given number of days.
posted by mikeh at 8:56 AM on July 19, 2006

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