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Using a POP account with more than one device

When using the same POP email account on more than one device, email messages may appear only on the first device that receives them. This occurs when an email client is configured to automatically remove email from the server after an email client has received it. You can configure your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac either to keep a copy of the email on the server, remove it after a certain number of days have passed, or keep it until you move it from your inbox.

Use the steps in the sections below to configure your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac to keep a copy of retrieved email messages on the server. For all other third-party products, please contact your the software developer or email service provider for additional assistance.

iOS Mail

By default, Mail will only delete messages from the server one week after deleting the message from the device. This gives you time for other mail clients such Mail on your Mac to download a copy of the message.   You can make adjustments to these settings by following these steps. 

  1. Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  2. Tap the email account you want to change.
  3. Tap your email account name.
  4. Tap Advanced.
  5. Tap Remove.
  6. Select a time frame.
    • Never: The email message will remain in place on all of your devices and email clients.
    • After one day: One day after Mail reads the email message, Mail will remove the message from the server. The message will exist only in Mail, not on any other clients.
    • After one week: This setting works the same as "After one day", except that Mail waits one week.
    • After one month: This setting works the same as "After one day", except that Mail waits one month.
  7. Tap Advanced, then tap the name of the email account.
  8. Tap Done to save your settings. 

OS X Mail

If you use the Mac OS X Mail application as your email client, you can deselect the "Remove copy from server after retrieving a message" option under the Advanced account settings in Mail Preferences. However, the default setting, to remove mail after one week, should be adequate for most users. Here's how to set your account to remove the messages from the server after one week:

  1. In Mail select Mail > Preferences.
  2. Click the Accounts tab.
  3. Select the account for which you wish to change the settings.
  4. Click the Advanced tab.
  5. Select the "Remove copy from server after retrieving a message" option.
  6. Select a time frame from the pop-up menu.
    Mail for Mac OS X
    • Immediately: When Mail reads the email message, the email message will be removed from the server. The message will exist only in Mail, not on any other clients.
    • After one day: One day after Mail reads the email message, Mail will remove the message from the server. The message will exist only in Mail, not on any other clients.
    • After one week: This setting works the same as "After one day", except that Mail waits one week.
    • After one month: This setting works the same as "After one day", except that Mail waits one month.
    • When moved from Inbox: Mail will remove each message from the server only after the message is moved out of the Inbox and into another mailbox. The message will exist only in Mail, not on any other clients.
  7. Close Mail preferences to save your settings.

About "Pop Locking"

The POP3 mail protocol was designed in some cases to support one connection at a time. When multiple devices attempt to access the mailbox at the same time, the devices may get locked out or you may be prompted to re-enter the account password.

Try to have only one device access the POP3 server at a time. If you are affected by this issue, wait 20 minutes before trying again, or contact your email service provider (ESP) to clear the lock.

Important: Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites. Apple provides this only as a convenience to our users. Apple has not tested the information found on these sites and makes no representations regarding its accuracy or reliability. There are risks inherent in the use of any information or products found on the Internet, and Apple assumes no responsibility in this regard. Please understand that a third-party site is independent from Apple and that Apple has no control over the content on that website. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Feb 24, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Feb 24, 2014
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