Adding IMAP email on your iPhone

Submitted by daniel on Tue, 10/11/2020 - 14:02

This article was originally written in 2005 as a support forum article. This is still relevant today so I have decided to add and update it here for posterity.

If you are looking to take advantage of IMAP ability to sync your emails across mutiple devices such as your mobile phone or pda, while being able to also pick them up from your home or work computer, them IMAP is the way to go.


IMAP is short for Internet Message Access Protocol, while POP translates to Post Office Protocol. As with many Internet Protocols that form part of the Internet protocol suite and default to operating on different ports.

the main difference of the two protocols is that POP downloads emails from the server for permanent local storage, while IMAP leaves them on the server and just caches (temporarily stores) emails locally. In other words, IMAP is a form of cloud storage.

Secure IMAP

If you are setting up your email on your iPhone or iPod to access your email via ssl, you may have problems getting the Mail App to accept your usual mail settings. There seems to be some issues with how the iPhone trusts the issued certificate used to encrypt and data sent and received. 

  1. If you are having problems with your iPhone accepting our certificate (registered with Geotrust), we can email it to you to be installed locally as a trusted certificate. This should help you to make sure that you can check your email securely while out and about on your mobile device.

    Just to follow up on this in 2020, It is likely that your certificate will expire after 1 year or 3 months if you use lets encrypt. There is currently no way to accept the newly updated certificate on your iphone without manually removing and then re-adding your imap account. Fortunately as this is an IMAP you should n't lose anything as your devices should all be synced with the server. 

  2. Adding INBOX as your IMAP path prefix if you do not see the Sent, Trash, Drafts, and Junk folders. Typically, these folders are in your INBOX and you’ll need to set the prefix path for it to work correctly.You may also wish to add the word, 'INBOX' as your IMAP path prefix.

  1. If you set up the IMAP mail account on your iPhone, you may not find the IMAP folders in your Inbox folder. If this is the case, you’ll need to specify the IMAP path prefix.
  2. You can enter in the IMAP path prefix by going to Settings > Mail > Account > Advanced > IMAP Path Prefix.
  3. Enter the word “INBOX” (use all caps) and save the setting. Now, your folders should appear as subfolders in the Inbox.



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