After more than a year, Outlook.com finally adds IMAP support

By on September 13, 2013, 3:02 AM
microsoft, hotmail, email, outlook, webmail, outlook.com, imap

Microsoft has finally added IMAP support to Outlook.com, more than a year after the service was unveiled as the successor to Hotmail. The feature, available immediately and in tandem with OAuth, gives third-party developers another option when it comes to syncing messages and folders from the service.

Although the IMAP protocol is older than Microsoft's preferred method of email sync, Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), it's still a widely supported protocol, especially on feature phones and Mac OS email clients. Microsoft's Steve Kafka writes "we heard your feedback loud and clear that this was important", and announced the tighter integration Outlook.com in certain apps, including TripIt, Sift and OtherInbox.

IMAP (an abbreviation for Internet Message Access Protocol) was first designed way back in 1986 as a remote mailbox protocol, although it has been developed and improved on since the first iteration. One of the key features of IMAP is its robust folder system, allowing users to manage their emails in the hierarchy and setup that they prefer.

Gmail has supported IMAP since late 2007, and although the company offered EAS syncing options, last year it was announced that EAS support would be phased out, much to the annoyance of Windows Phone users. Gmail now primarily uses IMAP, CardDAV and CalDAV to sync emails, contacts and calendars respectively.

While Microsoft has now included IMAP support in Outlook.com, it still recommends using Exchange ActiveSync wherever possible. However if you do want to setup a third-party client to access Outlook.com through IMAP, Microsoft has listed instructions at the bottom of their blog post.




User Comments: 12

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Chazz said:

[link] m.techspot has been subpar 19 months and counting...add to that the desktop version now throws errors for WP7 users making this website inaccessible.

Shit takes time. Overly negative title for no reason. They informed users months ago that they were working on it and now it's out.

Michael Simon said:

Chazz, I agree. Negative title for no reason except it is very fashionable to bash Microsoft.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

[link] m.techspot has been subpar 19 months and counting...add to that the desktop version now throws errors for WP7 users making this website inaccessible.

Shit takes time. Overly negative title for no reason. They informed users months ago that they were working on it and now it's out.

Haha, karma is a *****. And it's true too.

1 person liked this | Sarah Palin Sarah Palin said:

I don't think people are bashing Microsoft because it is fashionable. I don't see anyone bashing HP, ASUS or Samsung. The negative comments came after Windows 8 was released. I do not remember anyone bashing Microsoft when Windows 7 was released. As I remember everyone was in love with Microsoft because of Windows 7. I loved Windows 7 and miss it dearly. That is what upsets me. I had an OS which I loved and Microsoft has decided that I can't have it anymore and they shoved Windows 8 at me and I hate Windows 8. The cell phone user interface which they put on PC's is ridiculous and quite frankly, embarrassing to use. They switched the placement of the gas pedal and brake pedal. They moved the steering wheel to the trunk and they made all the wheels square. Microsoft is square and we have brand new technology and exciting new OSes like iOS and Android and I hear that we will have the full Ubuntu on a cell phone next year. Things are too cool now for a Poindexter company like Microsoft to make it.

1 person liked this | tonylukac said:

O, that microsoft. And @Sarah Palin: Think about driving on the other side of the road like they do in europe.

johnniedoo johnniedoo said:

I suppose that depends on which side of the Atlantic one resides as well. People make comparisons between auto customization as it was in the Hot Rod days and the current jargon used among computer Modders and Over-Clockers all the time. I still view the OS as a thing and do not fall in love with them, however, I liked the comment about 'putting a cell phone interface'... on a PC. I had read the pre release promotions on Win8 which did imply that MS was trying to make a real cross platform operating system to remove all the confusion and compatibility issues among all the many devices one person ,or family, etc may use in a day. It sounded logical , until I saw it and found out that there was to be a 'learning curve' attached. I like using Win7 even though I saw it as Vista re named since it had fewer changes, good ones, than an average service pack might. And, the opportunity to charge so many another new OS fee. I thought that was clever, dastardly , but clever since so many people voiced hatred of Vista.

I am not going to change to Win8 simply because it would be a downgrade for me.

John

johnniedoo johnniedoo said:

I forgot to attach the fact that I am a 9yr Hotmail user, at least that, and have been forced into Outlook even though my address stayed at hotmail.com. I did not like those initial changes either, it was toned down, in the style of Win8, Metro at that time. The name/feature/service change was the slowest phase in imaginable , considering the typical rush to market approach other MS software developed the reputation for...

John

1 person liked this | Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

[link] m.techspot has been subpar 19 months and counting...add to that the desktop version now throws errors for WP7 users making this website inaccessible.

Shit takes time. Overly negative title for no reason. They informed users months ago that they were working on it and now it's out.

It does but IMAP isn't a new protocol and for such a massive mail service and the competition, this feature is on the "required" checklists for a lot of people. When you are trying to compete with Yahoo, GMail etc, there are some people who just wouldn't consider a service without IMAP. I certainly stopped using Yahoo when they dropped POP support for their unpaid services (I think this has now been returned but the horse has bolted).

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Chazz, I agree. Negative title for no reason except it is very fashionable to bash Microsoft.

LOL, dude, its par for the course. You can try and throw fits, if you do it long enough, it does get into the staff's heads and it gets cleaned up a bit. But, really, catchy titles generate traffic, traffic = money. So good luck.

johnniedoo johnniedoo said:

I got sidetracked by the Win8 viewpoint and lost sight of the topic, sorry. I , too,dropped Yahoo and GMail from my daily routine. Yahoo had been my HomePage for a time, but as a non pay member I had to move along. I still maintain the account, just in case some older friends might use the address, same with GMail, though I use it more often. I have put a forward filter on many header triggers; I go there far less now.

I continue with Outlook, I like it , almost went back to Yahoo 3 months ago but hung in. IMAP is no longer a deal breaker for me, it would have been important last year but I did with out because I liked Hotmail then. Now IMAP is not important at all , so they fire it up. I no longer depend on my email accounts for business and home , so the filters work well enough. I guess the comment about a long time coming is appropriate though. "it is not a new protocol" as was just pointed out was my initial response along with 'why did it take so long?'

John

JC713 JC713 said:

About time. Now I just need the info in order to add it to my mail clients.

Chazz said:

It does but IMAP isn't a new protocol and for such a massive mail service and the competition, this feature is on the "required" checklists for a lot of people. When you are trying to compete with Yahoo, GMail etc, there are some people who just wouldn't consider a service without IMAP. I certainly stopped using Yahoo when they dropped POP support for their unpaid services (I think this has now been returned but the horse has bolted).

Change IMAP to EAS and then apply this statement to Gmail(as you suggest) and I can say the same thing. They removed support for this, not in a redesign(which never has feature parody on day one) for little reason. I've had to migrate from Gmail, an Email I loved and still consider the best, because Google wants to play sissy fight with Microsoft.

But, whatever, Microsoft is bad. Should I sit on your right or your left? My right arm is stronger.

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