How to change an account from POP to IMAP in Outlook 2016

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) and IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) are the two main protocols used by applications to send and receive email.

Should you decide you wish to change your Outlook email account from using a POP3 connection to an IMAP connection, you can do so in a few simple steps.

1. Back up your mailboxes

Switching from a POP3 connection to IMAP can result in your existing email being deleted, so you should create a backup of your mailboxes to avoid losing anything important.

Open Outlook and select File.  In the menu that appears, select Open & Export, then Import/Export.

Open & Export menu

In the Import and Export window that opens, select Export to a file and click Next >.

Import and Export Wizard

In the next window, Export to a File, select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next >.

Choose file type

You can now select the mailboxes you’d like to back up. We recommend that you back up all your mailboxes, so select your email address in the Export Outlook Data File window and ensure that the box next to Include subfolders is checked. Click Next >to continue.

Folder selection

Use the Browse button to select a location on your computer for your backup. Click Finish to continue.

Save location

To keep your backed-up emails secure, you can create an optional password for the file. Enter a password and click OK, or Cancel to proceed without.

Securing the export

The backup will now be saved to your computer.

2. Delete your POP account from your computer

With the backup completed, you can now delete the POP account in Outlook. You should also delete the account on other devices you use for email.

Select File from the top menu, then Info.

Account Information

Click the small arrow next to Account Settings and select the Account Settings… option which pops up.

Account Settings menu

In the Account Settings window, click on your email account and click Remove to delete it from Outlook.

Remove account

You’ll be warned that your offline messages will be deleted. Click Yes to continue.

Confirm removal

3. Set up your IMAP account on your computer

The final step is to create a new email account on your computer using your IMAP server details. You can use the New… button in the Account Settings window to get started or alternatively, click File in the top menu, then Add Account.

Add account

At the bottom of the window, click the radio button next to Manual setup or additional server types, then Next > to proceed.

Account type

Under Choose Your Account Type, select POP or IMAP, then click Next >once again.

Select account type

Now enter the IMAP server settings for your email account. You can find your server settings in your Dashboard by heading to My cPanel > Email Accounts and selecting Set Up Email Client.

cPanel Mail Client Details

Enter the following details:

  1. Email Address: Your full email address.
  2. Password: Your email server password.
  3. User Name: Your email account user name.
  4. Account Type: Use the dropdown menu to select IMAP.
  5. Incoming Mail Server: mostly
  6. Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP): mostly
  7. Logon Information: Enter your email account user name and password.

Now click the More Settings…button.


In the Internet Email Settings window that opens, select the Advanced tab.

Advanced tab

Enter the following details:

  1. Incoming server: Ensure the default port is set to 993 for IMAP accounts. Use the dropdown menu next to Use the following type of encrypted connection to select SSL.
  2. Outgoing server (SMTP): Change the default port (25) to 465. Use the dropdown menu next to Use the following type of encrypted connection to select SSL.

port settings

Switch to the Outgoing Server tab. Check the box next to My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication, then click the radio button next to Use same settings as my incoming mail server.

Outgoing server settings

Click OK to close the Internet E-mail Settings window, then Next > to proceed.

Outlook will now test your email settings. If the test fails, retrace your steps, ensuring your server and account details have been entered correctly.

Testing server

Once the test completes successfully, click Close and then Finish to wrap up.

Setup complete

4. Restore your mailbox

If you wish to restore the mailboxes and email you backed up earlier, choose File from the top menu, then Open & Export. Now select Import/Export.

Open menu

In the Import and Export wizard window, select Import from another program or file and click Next >.

Select action

In the next window, Import a File, select Outlook Data File (.pst) and then Next >.

File type

Now use the Browse button to navigate to your Outlook backup file. When restoring your email and mailboxes, you can use the radio buttons under Options to configure how Outlook treats duplicate items. Click Next > to continue.

File selection

If you secured your backup with a password, you will be asked to enter it once again to authorize the import. Enter the password, then click OK.

Finally, use the dropdown menu to select which folder you’d like to restore your data into and click Finish to complete.

Folder selection

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