Sync issues with IMAP and Outlook 2013

No, it’s not just you!

Yes, we have all spent countless hours trying to get it to work!

No, there doesn’t seem to be a solution!

Really?

Prior to Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook played nicely with IMAP servers and was the defacto choice for sharing email accounts across PC’s/devices or when you wanted to have a pseudo backup of your emails upon your email provider’s server.

With the release of Outlook 2013, Microsoft changed how they had implemented IMAP support within the Outlook program, which has resulted in countless issues being experienced, troubleshooted, complained about and not resolved. These issues seem to affect IMAP users using Gmail, Outlook.com and ISP email services.

The types of issues include:

  • Emails moved / imported / deleted within Outlook 2013 not being synchronised with the IMAP server
  • Emails received and visible upon the IMAP server not being synchronised to Outlook 2013
  • The above issues experienced using Outlook.com (Microsofts own email service), Gmail.com and 3rd party (ISP) IMAP services
  • Similar issues (including issues synchronising Contacts and Calendars) when using EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) instead of IMAP

Many people purport to have a ‘solution’ or a ‘work-around’, but these tend to not work for others or only seem to work for a short time, so in essence we just can’t rely upon Outlook 2013 to consistently work with an IMAP server.

If you’ve come across this post, then I’m sure you’ve already spent a number of hours of frustrating Google search results trialing fixes and changing settings to no avail.

The solution? Use something else… and if you’re looking into this issue on behalf of a user / client, then try to convince them to use Webmail or a different email client.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

With the forthcoming release of Outlook 2016, will we see some changes with the implementation of IMAP / EAS? We’ll have to just wait and see… ¬†However, with the Outlook.com backend changes also happening soon, the use of Outlook 2013 with Outlook.com might improve which may result in a possible solution (by way of using Outlook.com to aggregate your email services).

In Summary

Yes, there is an inherent problem with IMAP and Outlook 2013. We feel your pain and frustration. It’s not just you. Hopefully things improve with the new version of Outlook and Outlook.com

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