How to Change IMAP to POP3 Account

Written By Deepmala
Chirag Arora
Approved By Chirag Arora  
Published On September 29th, 2023
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Switching from an IMAP account to a POP3 account will prevent the server from administering the emails of the user. The reason is that with a POP3 account, emails get saved on the user’s system locally. The conversion of IMAP accounts to POP3 accounts is mentioned clearly in the following steps.

In Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013. The Auto Account setup feature will attempt to configure the web-based e-mail account as an IMAP account. However, the situation is different in Outlook 2007, it seeks to configure as a POP3 account.

There is no direct process to convert from an IMAP account to POP3. But users can try out a comparatively easy process which consists of the following steps:

  • Simply add a POP3 account
  • Move the mail folders
  • Delete current IMAP account

Step 1: Add POP3 Account

To add the POP3 account, move to the Account settings option:

In the case of Outlook 2003

  • Select Tools >> E-mail Account >> Options >> Select: Add an E-mail account

In the case of Outlook 2007

  • Select Tools >> Account Settings >> Click on the new tab >> Add a New Email account

In the case of Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, the configurations are a little different:

  • Select File >> Section Info >> Account Settings >> Account Settings >> Add email account

In the case of Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013, the Auto Account Setup feature is there to fill in the details like the user’s name, email address, and password details. Outlook will attempt to search the email server settings. When it is completed, a confirmation message on the screen will be displayed. If for some reason, the auto-configuration does not complete successfully. Or in case it detects IMAP settings, users can opt for the manual configuration by selecting the option. “Manually Configure Server Settings or additional Server types.”

It must be noted that while configuring the POP3 settings manually on Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013, or in the case of Outlook 2003, the user should make sure to have all the details of server configuration ready. However, if the user doesn’t have the settings, then they can check with their respective email provider to verify that the POP3 settings are correct or not.

The server settings for all major free email providers like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and can be obtained online from their respective sites.

The above figure shows that when a user configures the account manually, it prompts to configure it as a POP3 account in place of an IMAP account.

Note: While configuring a POP3 account, users can set it in such a way as to leave a copy of messages on the server for a couple of days.

Step 2: Move the Mail Folders

Once the user’s account has been added as a POP3 account, all the emails that are present in the Inbox folder of the IMAP account will start downloading. However, the contents from sent items and additional sub-folders created by users won’t get downloaded. This is because the POP3 protocol provides for downloading the messages from the inbox folder only.

For moving messages, users can simply follow the regular method (by using Ctrl +A) of selecting the emails or folders that they want to transfer into the POP3 settings account and then make a copy of it. Users can also easily drag and drop to move the messages. While using the drag & drop feature through a right mouse click, users will get an option either to copy or move the messages selected.

Note: One cannot just copy the entire folder of inbox to move it to the POP3 settings account. Select the messages in the inbox that are required to be transferred and then initiate with a copy.
The figure shows the method of right-clicking Drag and drop.

To keep the original structure of messages intact, users can first clear out the contents of the POP3 account. The status of all the messages whether read or unread will remain unchanged even after transferring the contents to the new account. This act is done to avoid any duplicate messages in the inbox.

The smoothest way to move the Calendar items at once is by placing the Calendar folder in a list view. For example- All Appointments list view or category view. Then move the items by selecting them (via CRTL+A) and then apply the drag & drop option.

To change the Calendar view to a list view, follow the steps below:

In the case of Outlook 2003

  • Select View >> Arrange By >> Current View >> By Category

Outlook 2007

  • View >> Current View >> All Appointments

In Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013

  • Select tab View >> Change View >> List

Step 3: Delete Current IMAP Account

After all the messages are copied to the POP3 account mailbox, the IMAP account can be removed by accessing the Account Settings option.

For Outlook 2003, make it clear to select the option “View or change existing email accounts” to proceed to the account details.

In the case of Outlook 2013, proper steps should be taken to ensure that the PST file of the POP3 account is placed as the default store before aiming to remove the IMAP account. This can be done by selecting the “Data” option, then choosing the POP3 mailbox store that contains the PST file, and finally clicking on the option “Set as Default.”

It should be noted that it is mandatory to restart the system. In the case of Outlook 2013 while switching the default mailbox store from IMAP to POP3 account. After the system restarts, users can move to the Account Settings option again and remove the IMAP account successfully.

Bottom Line: Besides Outlook, many other email clients are there that support both IMAP and POP3 accounts for downloading emails. One of the main advantages of moving over to a POP3 account from IMAP is that presently more POP3-compatible software is available in the market.