We referred to the 'IMAP shuffle' elsewhere on our site as a – rather slow – way of moving email between two different computers or email apps. It basically means uploading email from your own 'local' hard drive to our servers, and then downloading it elsewhere. POP downloads and deletes messages from the server; IMAP merely accesses what it on the server.
However, increasingly people who had downloaded all their historic email to their private computer want to access some or most of it from multiple devices, and the steps to make it accessible via our servers are very similar as for the purposes of moving between machines:
- check your email client to see if you already have an account that is configured to use the IMAP protocol and with the appropriate user name. (It will probably have this as something like 'IMAP' in capitals as 'Server Type'. Ignore the server name which may be pop.gn.apc.org or imap.gn.apc.org).
- if you haven't, add a new account, and set it up for IMAP. This may mean that you have both POP and IMAP 'account settings' for the same GreenNet email address. The username, password, SMTP and incoming servers are the same, except where your email program asks you to choose between IMAP and POP, choose IMAP.
- The new account typically appears in a left-hand window with its own set of folders underneath. These are folders on the server ('in the cloud'), as opposed to your 'Local Folders'. Add new folders for whatever purpose you want, such as long-term archiving, or moving elsewhere. Remember the main inbox has a limited capacity of 500M, so we would suggest not uploading there.
- Highlight the messages in local folders that you want to move. You may want to order them by subject, sender or size and select a range using the Shift key.
- Drag the messages to the relevant IMAP folder, or select 'Move'. This will start the upload process.
- Wait. Most broadband connections are a lot slower uploading than they are downloading and you may have accumulated hundreds of megabytes of email over the years.
- Maybe make a nice cup of tea.
- Check the headlines and fiddle around tidying your desk.
- Wait for a short while longer.
- Wait for a longer while longer.
- Remember that there was something significant and useful that you were working on, and that perhaps you can't kill time without injuring eternity.
- Consider whether you want to keep any old POP account, or have it continue to archive your incoming email. If you keep it and don't want older email disappeaaring from the Inbox on your phone after a while, set your POP account settings to leave messages on the server (typical instructions for Thunderbird here.)
OK, these aren't complete instructions for every email app ever, but the principles are simple: (a) have local folders and server folders set up separately, and move or copy email from the local folders to the server folders, and (b) there may be waiting involved.