A reader asked about using IMAP with his AOL email account. IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP allows you to access, view, send, receive, and edit emails stored on an online server as if they were stored on your PC. You can access these messages from multiple devices.

When you access AOL mail via a web interface, you’re directly accessing the server, so there’s no need to do anything. If you’re using an email client, that’s something you’ll choose when you set up your AOL account or by going into the settings for your account.

Let’s look at the process for Outlook. These steps would apply to any email account.  Open your Outlook inbox and choose File.

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Then select Add Account.

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Enter the email address you wish to add. The default connection for Outlook is IMAP.

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You’ll be asked to log on. IMAP is the default setting for Outlook.

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If you aren’t sure if an existing account is set up with IMAP, you can look at the account to see if it is set up for IMAP.

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The process for using an email client on your phone is similar.  Open your email client app, go to your accounts and add an account.

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Some email clients actually give you the choice of selecting the email provider like AOL or Yahoo.

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Enter your account and password.

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With nearly all newer email clients, IMAP is the default. If you’re using an older program or app for an email program and IMAP isn’t the default, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t figure out how to set it up.