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  • IMAP, Apple Mail Rules & iPhone Blues

    We used to use a POP based mail server. However we have moved to a different email provider and they use IMAP. Still trying to come to grips with the inherent differences between the two.

    Whenever my Mac’s Apple Mail moves a message from the main inbox to one of the mailboxes setup for use with rules, the message disappears from the iPhone. This was not an issue with our old POP server as the mail was simply left on the server for a given period of time.

    Is my only alternative to stop using “hard” mailboxes and rules and to now only use “soft” Smart Mailboxes filters, so that all of the mails just sit in the Mac’s inbox and that way they are still visible on the phone? I personally shudder to think of all that mail in a single folder, despite the smart mailboxes filtering content into virtual folders.


    Stephen Marsh
    Last edited by Stephen Marsh; 01-03-2017, 02:34 AM.
    Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

  • #2
    Not sure what service you are using but I use Rackspace iMap email. I can login to my webmail and create a folder as a subfolder off of Inbox (it doesn't display like a subfolder off of Inbox as it displays separately below it). That folder then displays as a separate folder in Apple Mail in the left hand column at the bottom of the column. Then in webmail I apply my rules to move email into that mailbox automatically. I then see the mailbox and the emails on my work Apple Mail, Home Apple Mail, and my Android phone. It syncs automatically but you can also tell it from your email client to sync if for some reason it doesn't do it fast enough. Oh and if you delete an email from that mailbox (folder) on one device it deletes it on all devices. Well not really deletes it all device because it is never on those devices. With iMap email the mail always stays on the server unless you manually create un-synced mailboxes (folders) on the device and move mail into them which is what you are doing now.
    Joe
    OS: Mac OS X 10.10.2 - RIP: Prinergy Connect 6.1 - CTP: Luscher XPose! 160 (2)

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    • #3
      I use POP for all of my emails except for one. If you deal with a large volume of attachments, then POP is the only way to go. What is your IMAP account space?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Joe View Post
        With iMap email the mail always stays on the server unless you manually create un-synced mailboxes (folders) on the device and move mail into them which is what you are doing now.

        Indeed, this has forced me to now rethink how I now handle mail, as it was never an issue with POP.

        I tried setting up a folder on my webmail and a webmail rule. This sort of worked OK (visible in Apple Mail and on iPhone, however the web rule would not work automatically, I had to manually apply the rule and I never use the webmail). So either work out why the rules are not auto applying or give up on this approach. I don’t really wish to setup sever based folders and rules as there are many and they are complex, but if this is the only really workable way forward…

        I have tried moving mail out of one of my Apple Mail folders back into the main inbox. The mail is visible on the iPhone. If I create a smart mailbox in Apple Mail, them the mail is visible in smart mailbox filter just like a traditional “folder”. This is “workable”, except that I don’t wish to move all of the sorted mail from all of the folders and setup new smart mailbox filters to replace the old folders, around 30. The existing rules are complex and sadly one can’t turn a standard folder rule into a smart mailbox.

        EDIT: I have tried setting up a folder on the mail server using the webmail interface, however this time there is no website rule. This folder is visible on Apple Mail. I can then setup a rule in Apple Mail to move the incoming mail to the web based folder. This folder and mail is visible on the iPhone too. All good so far, it is easy enough to change my existing rules to point to the web based folder rather than a local folder. My only concern is that I have a lot of mail that would need to be moved out of traditional local mailbox folders on my Mac to the new server so I am concerned about the bandwidth and size etc. Seems that there is no perfect solution to deal with my legacy local mail and new mail on multiple devices!



        Stephen Marsh
        Last edited by Stephen Marsh; 01-03-2017, 07:58 PM.
        Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

        Comment


        • #5
          Most email services are pretty good with their disk space for imap email. We get 250 gb per user so that isn't an issue. Also I would ask your provider why there are no rules you can setup from webmail. That is a pretty standard feature that is missing. I apply my rules from webmail and by the time it gets to Apple Mail it is all sorted just the way I want it. Also you can periodically archive your email with Apple Email and get it off of the imap server if you are in a pinch for disk space.
          Joe
          OS: Mac OS X 10.10.2 - RIP: Prinergy Connect 6.1 - CTP: Luscher XPose! 160 (2)

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Joe, there are rules on webmail, however in my test they did not automatically apply when the new mail landed, I had to log into webmail and manually apply the rules, which is pointless.

            I would prefer not to have to rebuild all the rules directly on the server, I have just recently done this on Apple Mail in the mistaken belief that I was fixing something (but that is a different topic about Apple's poor rules design in Mail).

            I may have to contact support and see why the rule is not automatically applied when the new email lands and how much space I have online. It is not just about the server space, I don’t wish to tie up bandwidth uploading all of the old emails and attachments in those emails if they are not on the server and they force an upload when I move them out of the existing “external” mailboxes back to the servers inbox or other server side mailboxes.



            Stephen Marsh
            Last edited by Stephen Marsh; 01-03-2017, 11:50 PM.
            Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

            Comment


            • #7
              Unless you need those old emails visible to your other device(s) I would just leave them in the local folders. Or maybe only move what is critical to have on the other device(s).

              Your post inspired so I setup some folders through webmail and mine did auto apply the rules on the first relevant email that came in. I would definitely ask your email support about because having to apply the rules manually kind of defeats the purpose of rules.

              One thing I noticed on setting up rules on webmail is that I could not apply and/or conditions for multiple things. I had to create a separate rule for each condition. I see you did get it to work by creating the folder via webmail and then applying the rules in Apple Mail and once the email hits the INBOX your rules do move them to the correct webmail folder. How much data are we talking about transferring back to the email server?
              Joe
              OS: Mac OS X 10.10.2 - RIP: Prinergy Connect 6.1 - CTP: Luscher XPose! 160 (2)

              Comment


              • #8
                There appear to be 2 places where I can setup webmail filters.

                One is in the webmail “horde” interface, under mail/filters. This does not seem to work automatically.

                The other place is under my webmail account settings/email filters. This does work automatically.

                My preference would simply be to create the 30 odd folders on the webmail service, then redirect my local Apple Mail rules to point to these new folders instead of the local folders. The only drawback would be that I would now have the “old” offline “archive” of mails and the new server based content. I would now have to search/manage more than one folder for the same correspondence.

                If I was to move all of my mail back to the server it would be around 15gb and around 6 years of data. I would of course have to verify that this was still available offline…

                The more that I look at this, it may just be easier to live with things as they are and not have access to every mail on my phone.



                Stephen Marsh
                Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stephen Marsh View Post
                  There appear to be 2 places where I can setup webmail filters.

                  One is in the webmail “horde” interface, under mail/filters. This does not seem to work automatically.

                  The other place is under my webmail account settings/email filters. This does work automatically.

                  My preference would simply be to create the 30 odd folders on the webmail service, then redirect my local Apple Mail rules to point to these new folders instead of the local folders. The only drawback would be that I would now have the “old” offline “archive” of mails and the new server based content. I would now have to search/manage more than one folder for the same correspondence.

                  If I was to move all of my mail back to the server it would be around 15gb and around 6 years of data. I would of course have to verify that this was still available offline…

                  The more that I look at this, it may just be easier to live with things as they are and not have access to every mail on my phone.

                  Stephen Marsh
                  IMAP email is never available offline. When you were using POP mail the stuff in your locally created folders would not have been available on the phone unless you had downloaded the email to your phone and locally created folders on the phone so and then you had two copies of everything and downloaded all of that email twice. Once to your PC and once to your phone. If your IMAP email has enough disk space I can't see a problem with keeping it on the IMAP server.
                  Joe
                  OS: Mac OS X 10.10.2 - RIP: Prinergy Connect 6.1 - CTP: Luscher XPose! 160 (2)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Joe View Post

                    IMAP email is never available offline. When you were using POP mail the stuff in your locally created folders would not have been available on the phone unless you had downloaded the email to your phone and locally created folders on the phone so and then you had two copies of everything and downloaded all of that email twice. Once to your PC and once to your phone. If your IMAP email has enough disk space I can't see a problem with keeping it on the IMAP server.

                    What I mean is that as long as I can access previously downloaded emails in Apple Mail at a future point potentially when I have no internet connection. I don’t wish to upload data and remove it from my local drive, then find out that I can’t search through the emails offline.


                    Stephen Marsh

                    Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Stephen Marsh View Post


                      What I mean is that as long as I can access previously downloaded emails in Apple Mail at a future point potentially when I have no internet connection. I don’t wish to upload data and remove it from my local drive, then find out that I can’t search through the emails offline.


                      Stephen Marsh
                      Late to the conversation, but the beauty of IMAP is that you can't access it without a network connection. IMAP is far superior to POP in many ways, but switching from POP to IMAP is a bit sticky. Also moving email to folders with client rules is also a bit tricky (sort-of). You have to change the way you think about email. ALL subfolders need to be created ON THE SERVER. The client will keep a cached record of the folder structure and the mail header info from the last time it connected to the server, but none of the email can be accessed without a connection to the server. That's really good because our employees can have access to the mail on their phones, work computers, webmail, whatever. It's all the same. If I send an email from my phone and come to work the next morning and fire up my laptop and run my mail client, that email that I sent from my phone shows up in my sent folder. Accessing email with multiple devices using POP is a disaster.

                      Searching with IMAP is fast. Sorting with IMAP is fast. Everything with IMAP is fast. Just make sure the email clients are configured properly to create any subfolders on the server. I had a couple of users here that really wanted to use Outlook as their client and I remember it was painful to get that right for them. If you are creating subfolders from a device it can be difficult sometimes to tell exactly where that folder is.

                      No, you can't search through your email offline, but do you really need to? Theoretically, you can access the mail with IMAP and ALSO download it to a device for offline searching but it would only work for that single device and I think it would be very confusing. Lastly, no backups. If my laptop catches on fire, I can just get my mail from wherever.


                      The way I see it Stephen, you have 2 options. Either upload all your old POP email to the IMAP server or keep that old stuff offline and start fresh with IMAP. What you said about creating the subfolders with your webmail client and pointing your Apple Mail rules to those folders sounds about right. You can however create those subfolders right from within Apple Mail.
                      Last edited by David Watson; 01-05-2017, 04:20 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you Joe, PricelineNegotiator and David for your input.

                        I will setup duplicate IMAP based folders within Apple Mail. I will then dupe the existing legacy downloaded POP messages to the new IMAP based folders (which will by nature upload 15gb to the new server, which is not ideal however this is the nature of the beast). I can then change my rules in Apple Mail to point to the new IMAP folders rather than the old POP folders. Once I have verified that all of the data has uploaded, I can then remove the original POP folders.


                        Stephen Marsh
                        Comments are personal and my views may not be shared by my employer or partners.

                        Comment

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