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as i understand now Imap is a protocol while exchange is a mail server.

In Imap emails are synced and can be viewed in multiple clients. Copy of email is still in server.

Exchange is the same, only that instead of just syncing emails, exchange also sync collabarative tools such as contacts and calendar.

Also sent items are stored locally in Imap while sent items are stored in the server for exchange

Is that correct guys ?

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As I understand it, imap is a protocol while Exchange is a mail server.

Yes.

IMAP stand for Internet Messaging Access Protocol and is a commonly used alternative to POP3 (Post Office Protocol).

Microsoft Exchange Server is "a mail server and calendaring server developed by Microsoft".

With imap, emails are synced and can be viewed in multiple clients. Copies of those emails remain on the server.

For the most part, yes.

When using imap, emails do remain on the server (until deleted) and copies are downloaded to individual clients. If a given client sends a message to perform an operation on a given email (e.g. move/delete), then the server typically performs that operation.

As a protocol, imap "provides mechanisms for clients to detect changes made to the mailbox by other, concurrently connected, clients." However, clients can technically ignore those messages or not sync local changes (in practice, this applies most often to sent or deleted emails).

Exchange is the same, only that instead of just syncing emails, Exchange also syncs collaborative tools such as contacts and calendar.

For clarity, per your opening statement, imap and Exchange are two completely different things. Furthermore, while current versions can use imap, Exchange natively use a proprietary protocol called mapi to communicate with clients.

That said, in the broadest sense, you are correct in that servers which implement imap often only manage emails while Exchange servers deal with contacts and calendars by default (which imap itself does not provide mechanisms for).

Also, sent items are stored locally with imap while sent items are stored on the server for Exchange.

With imap, while many clients will automatically store a copy of a sent email on the imap server itself (which can then by synced to other clients), this isn't required behavior.

With Exchange, I admit my knowledge is weak, but I do believe that the default is to prefer remote storage over local storage.

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That's not quite correct.

Microsoft Exchange is an email server. It can communicate with Email clients. One of the client-server protocols that it can support is IMAP. Exchange is an IMAP server.

Enable and configure IMAP4 on an Exchange 2016 server

Exchange is not the same as IMAP, they are different things entirely. One is a large body of proprietary software implementing a message store among many other things, the other is a description of one way for an email client to communicate with a message store.


The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) provides multiple clients with access to a central mail store. There is no requirement for the clients to make synchronised copies. There is no requirement for sent items to be stored locally in the client, they would typically be stored instead in a "sent" folder on the IMAP server.

INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4

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