We rely on our mobile devices to provide us with a constant connection to our email inbox. In this video, you’ll learn about configuring a mobile devices to send and receive email messages using email protocols and popular email hosting services.
<< Previous Video: Mobile Device Connectivity Next: Mobile Device Synchronization>>
Many of us use our smartphones and our tablets to send and receive emails. In order to do this, we have to configure these devices with the appropriate email settings for the type of service that we’re using. If you’re retrieving emails from an internet service provider’s email server, then you’re probably using the POP3 protocol or the IMAP protocol. If you’re sending mail from this device, you’re probably using the SMTP protocol for that particular ISP’s network.
If you’re on a corporate network, you may be using something like Microsoft Exchange, which has a completely different process for sending and receiving emails. And if you’re using a number of providers that integrate email, such as Google, Yahoo, or iCloud, then there are a number of additional steps that you’ll need to take to be able to configure those accounts.
Let’s start with a protocol that’s commonly used to retrieve email messages onto our mobile devices. This Post Office Protocol version 3, or POP3, is one of these protocols that’s been around for a very long time. We were using POP3 well before there was Yahoo, or Google, or Microsoft Exchange. This was the way that we would retrieve email messages from our internet service provider.
When we’re using POP3, we’re usually downloading an email message from our internet service provider’s account. And then you also have the option, when you retrieve that message, to delete that message from the server. This process of downloading a single email message and then deleting it from the server makes sense if you only have one device. And before we had smartphones, and tablets, and desktop computers, and laptop devices, and we were gathering our emails from so many different places, this type of protocol made a lot of sense.
But today, we don’t see POP3 used quite so often because we need more flexibility with how we’re retrieving and viewing our email messages. However, you may still find some legacy equipment or software that still uses POP3. So in those cases, we’ll need to provide configuration information into our smartphone to be able to retrieve these messages using the POP3 protocol.
We’ll, of course, need the name of the POP3 server. Usually there will be a hostname option for that. And usually there’s authentication that occurs to make sure that you’re the proper owner of those email messages. So you’d also provide a username and password into the POP3 configuration. The software you’re using may also require you to provide a port number that’s in use for this POP3 communication. This can normally be found from your ISP. And the default is for POP3 to use TCP port 110.
If you’re using POP3 over a secure channel– that’s a secure sockets layer encrypted connection, which is also known as POP3S– you’re probably using TCP port 995.
A more flexible protocol for retrieving email messages is the Internet Message Access Protocol version 4, or IMAP4. This protocol allows us to retrieve messages, but leave them stored on a central server. We have the ability to create folders using IMAP, and we can also perform searches on the server using this IMAP protocol. The configuration for IMAP is almost identical to the information you might need for POP3.
You, of course, need a name of the IMAP app server that you’ll be connecting to, and then you’ll need to provide a username and password. The ports that are used for IMAP are slightly different than POP3. If you’re using IMAP without any type of security, it’s usually using TCP port 143. If you’re adding secure socket layer encryption, then you’re probably using TCP 993 to perform IMAPS communication.
We know that retrieving mail from your ISP is going to use POP3 or IMAP. But what about sending email messages? In those cases, we’re using SMTP, or the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This allows you to send email from your local device to your ISP’s SMTP server. Usually when you’re sending this message via SMTP, it needs to be from a device that can be trusted. So there’s usually authentication involved, and you have to make sure you configure figure all of those settings on your mobile device.
Although sometimes this authentication can be the same username and password that you use to retrieve email messages, it doesn’t have to be. So make sure that if you’re putting in SMTP authentication settings, that those match the SMTP settings that are configured on your ISP.
And of course, SMTP uses a completely different set of port numbers than IMAP or POP3. If we’re performing a simple SMTP with no authentication, then we’re probably using TCP port 25. But most authentication for SMTP is going to run over TCP port 587.
For using email at home, being able to use POP3, IMAP, or SMTP probably works just fine for you. But at your office, you’d like to be able to integrate your email with a calendar. You want to be able to look up a set of contacts in a database, or have reminders provided on the screen. In those particular cases, you’re probably using an enterprise email system such as Microsoft Exchange.
Microsoft Exchange even allows the synchronization of this information, so you can keep a contact list on your phone and that same contact list is synchronized with Microsoft Exchange. The configuration options for Microsoft Exchange usually require that you provide an email address. You specify the Exchange server name. There’s usually a Windows domain name that needs to be configured. And of course, you need to authenticate with a username and a password.
Microsoft Exchange also provides additional security for the email messages themselves. You can encrypt your emails using S/MIME. That stands for Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. This allows you to both encrypt and digitally sign the messages that you’re sending and receiving from Microsoft Exchange.
You may not be retrieving mail directly from a server at your ISP, and you may not be using Microsoft Exchange. Instead, you may be using an integrated service, such as Google Mail or Yahoo Mail. And you may find on your mobile device, there are simply settings that you can click on to specify the email configurations for those individual services.
For example, if you’re using Google Mail, which allows you to split the inbox into multiple tabs and provide additional spam filtering, you can simply click the Google option and provide your Google authentication credentials. Google optionally allows you to retrieve messages using IMAP4 or POP3, but if there’s a built in Google configuration, you generally have additional functionality available.
The cloud-based service for Exchange is called Exchange Online, and there’s IMAP4 and POP3 support also available for that service. If you’re using iCloud from Apple, then you have Apple Mail support and IMAP4 support, as well. And Yahoo Mail supports not only the integrated Yahoo functionality, but you can also retrieve messages from Yahoo Mail using IMAP4 and POP3.