When it comes to email, whether you are a business or a home user, you want to have access to it on your computer, your phone, and your tablet. How do you accomplish this? The good news is that devices these days make it easy to add email accounts to their existing apps.
If you're a business, you'll want to sign up for a business-class email and cloud service such as Microsoft o365 or G-suite (Google). Through these services, you register your domain and have an almost overwhelming amount of controls over your organization, and you create users with your domain, identifying who you are in your email address. They are designed for security which is essential to your business as well.
If you're a home user, you can do the same and register a domain and pay for these cloud services. Regardless of whether you take those steps as a business owner, or keep a free email service, the process of connecting them is the same.
There are lots of options for email providers out there. Most of us tend to go with the email address our Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives to us when we sign up for service. If you've been with them for years, it's almost like that email address is part of you. It's hard to give up, and it can be daunting to think about how to make a change. What about my old emails? What about my contacts?
Now, for a long time, before I started to work for IT, I was one of those people. I was assigned a comcast.net address when we moved into this house in 2008. I've always had it, and I'm pretty sure I always will as long as they still exist.
There was one vital flaw in how this email service was originally set up. It relied on a protocol called POP. No need to get too techy, but it means that the email server just passed it through, one door and out the other with the Outlook program on PC receiving it. Much like when you receive a letter, package, or any piece of mail. The post office processes it, but once they deliver it to your mailbox, that's the only copy and the only place it exists.
Now, suddenly in my inbox was the ONLY copy of this precious email. I don't care so much about the Kohls coupons. If they get deleted, I lose my extra 20% off. That's not a big deal. What about the photos of my cousin's graduation though? What if I want to show them to someone else? "Oh, that's right, they're sitting on my computer at home."
Things have changed over the years and now you don't have to worry about an email residing in only one place for you to access. There's a protocol called IMAP which most email providers now rely on as the preferred method of email delivery. This is where the analogy of the post office and email service part ways. Of course, to give the post office or any package delivery services there is something they can do that electronic mail can't. That is to deliver a real tangible package.
If you were to ask the postal service to do what email can now do, that would also be impossible and require bending the laws of Physics. Now you can view your email on multiple devices. So many electronic devices have built-in apps that allow you to read the exact same email in multiple places. Let's say someone emailed you an address for a party you need to attend. You check this on your computer. Then when you hit the road you realize you didn't write down the address. No worries, just check the email on your phone. That very same piece of information is there. All of these devices connect to the server where the email resides until you send the command to delete it.
Now, back to my commitment to my Comcast address. They have updated how it works now, but before they did, I lost patience. I converted to Gmail and have been an avid user of it ever since. It's free, easy to set up, and I simply registered my Gmail account with my Android phone, and all of my emails, calendars, contacts, etc. are available at my fingertips on my phone, or on my PC.
You don't have to convert to Gmail though. Most of the big internet service providers offer this IMAP connection and allow you to access your email via the web or on an app on your phone. For any tablet or smartphone, you can set up your existing email in the device's email app. You can just enter your email address and password and everything should fall right into place.
You can also find setup information on your ISPs website. You might have to dig a little, but somewhere they should provide IMAP server settings if you need them.
As I wrote this, I logged into my Comcast account to see how easy it was to find this information. I just had to click on a question mark and an FAQ popped up. One thing I did observe, POP setup info is still provided. Remember, POP is not going to help you view emails from multiple devices. Having all of your data in just one place is a very scary thing.
To learn more about how to set up an existing email account on your Apple device, go here to their support page: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201320
If you have an Android device and would like to learn how to do this, you can find the information here. https://support.google.com/android/answer/7664951?hl=en
Now, what about my conversion to Gmail. What about my contacts and existing emails. Well, in the world of Gmail, you can connect your Gmail account to your existing Outlook installation and it'll sync. Suddenly, everything will start pushing up into your Gmail account for you to access at your fingertips. If you use another email program, it might be a little more challenging. That's where you might need some friendly tech assistance. As always, QuickFix is here to help!
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