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How to change an account from POP to IMAP in Outlook 2016 for Mac

Last updated: 28/07/2017

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are the two main protocols used by applications to send and receive email. You can find out the differences between the two and which is best for your needs in the following article: What are the differences between POP3 and IMAP?

Should you decide you wish to change your Outlook 2016 for Mac email account from using a POP3 connection to an IMAP connection, you can do so using the following steps.

1. Back up your mailboxes

Switching from a POP3 connection to IMAP can result in your existing email being deleted, so you should create a backup of your mailboxes to avoid losing anything important.

  1. Open Outlook and select File. In the menu that appears, select Export…
  2. In the Export to Archive File (.olm) panel that opens, ensure Mail is checked and click Continue
  3. Use the dropdown arrow to select a location on your computer for your backup. Provide a memorable file name and then click Save to continue.
  4. The archive will now be saved to your computer. Now click Finish

2. Delete your POP account from your computer

With the backup completed, you can now delete the POP account in Outlook. You should also delete the account on other devices you use for email.

  1. Select Outlook from the top menu bar, then Preferences
  2. In the Outlook Preferences panel, select Accounts
  3. In the Accounts panel that appears, select your email account and then click the minus button (-) near the bottom of the panel to delete the account from Outlook.
  4. You’ll be asked to confirm deletion of the account. Click Delete to continue

3. Set up your IMAP account on your computer

  1. The final step is to create a new email account on your computer using your IMAP server details. From the menu bar, go to Tools > Accounts to begin.
  2. The Accounts panel will open, offering a range of account types. Select Other Email
  3. Enter your Email Address and Password, then ensure the box next to Configure automatically is NOT ticked.
  4. For the User name field enter your full email address
  5. Enter the following details:
    • E-mail Address: Your full email address
    • Password: Your email server password
    • User name: Your full email address
    • Type: Use the dropdown menu to select IMAP
    • Incoming server: enter
    • Incoming Port: Check the box next to Override default port. Change the default port (143) to 993 for IMAP accounts. Check the box next to Use SSL to connect (recommended).
    • Outgoing server: enter
    • Outgoing port: Check the box next to Override default port. Change the default port (25) to 465 for IMAP accounts. Check the box next to Use SSL to connect (recommended).
  6. Click Add account to complete configuration.

4. Restore your mailbox

If you wish to restore the mailboxes and email you backed up earlier...

  1. Choose File from the top menu, then Import
  2. The Import panel opens and you are asked to choose the type of file to import. Select Outlook for Mac archive file (.olm) and click Continue
  3. Navigate to your archive file and click to highlight it. Select Import to proceed
  4. Your archived email will now be imported. Click Finish to wrap up