How do I sync my emails on more than one device?

Many of us have the need to use emails on more than one device such as our desktop, laptop and phone.

Phones are set up in such a way that if you download emails to it, they are not deleted off the server so you’ll get them on your PC too. If you want the same to happen on two PCs, just change your account settings on both PCs to not “Delete messages off server”. This means that you’ll get your messages on both PCs, so you have a copy on each device. This may be perfect for your needs.

The problem with the above setup is that if you read an email on one device, it will still show unread on the other device or if you delete it off one device, you need to delete it off the others too. If you send an email from one device, it will not be under the Sent Items of your other devices.

How do we solve that? There are basically two good options:

1. Using Microsoft Exchange: Most larger businesses use a Microsoft email server called Exchange to manage their emails. You can either have it hosted by an ISP or on your own server. This means that all emails are kept on the server and all folders are synced to all devices where you load the mail account. This will include your Outlook Calendar and Contacts.

Microsoft Exchange is the best option, but many people don’t have their own server. There also aren’t many hosts that support Exchange (chances are that yours doesn’t) and it can be costly. Fortunately, there’s Google..

2. IMAP: For the purposes that we are looking at here, IMAP will do the same as Exchange. If you have a Gmail account, you can activate IMAP by logging into your Gmail on the Internet. Go to Settings and Activate IMAP. You will now have to go and set up your email as an IMAP account on all your devices (instead of POP3).

What though if you don’t have an Exchange server and don’t have Gmail? Well, Google is quite happy that you use their services even with your own account. This means that you can link your own email account to a Gmail account and use their servers (IMAP) to send/receive with your own email address.

Click here to see how to set up Gmail with IMAP and link to your own account.

Two additional benefits of using Gmail’s IMAP is that you never have to worry about email backups as all your emails are automatically saved to your other devices and the Google server. You will also be able to send emails from any connection (ADSL, 3G or anywhere overseas), because you’re using Gmail’s outgoing server which doesn’t care about your connection.

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