Ways to Manage Email on Multiple Devices


In the past, maintaining good email hygiene was a pretty straightforward process – you deleted a message from your inbox, it moved into the trash. You emptied the trash, it was gone forever, end of story. But now, since many of us have at least one computer, smartphone and tablet, we constantly find ourselves deleting the same messages on two (or more) devices.

But today, it never seems to work the way we want it to. We delete messages from one device’s inbox, only to have to repeat the process on the second device. And again on the third device. Also, because our messages are “saved on the server,” sometimes our hard work is for naught and a bunch of deleted messages suddenly make a repeat performance in our inbox.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to help lighten the load of managing your email on two (or more) different devices.

First of all, check to see if you have POP or IMAP email: POP and IMAP are email protocols, but only IMAP “syncs” changes on multiple devices. (POP forces you to manually delete the same mails off of each device.) So if your email provider uses IMAP, a message deleted from the inbox on your iPhone will automatically be deleted from the inbox on your computer, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Cablevision’s Optonline email service doesn’t offer the IMAP option, only POP.

If you’re stuck with a provider that only offers POP, there is a workaround. Simply create an iCloud email account (by opening System Preferences, clicking the iCloud icon and selecting Create An Apple ID) and establishing an email account. Then you can create a “rule” with your POP email provider that will forward your current email to your new iCloud email account. The great part is that you can continue to use your original email address, because all messages will still arrive in your inbox.

Bonus Tip – Keep your inbox free from non-vital emails

By creating a secondary email account, you can divert certain emails such as store offers, newsletters (just not mine, of course!) and “opted in” emails from clogging up your inbox. Create a secondary account with your email provider or sign up for a free account, such as Gmail. You can enable Gmail to be delivered to your email client of choice, such as Entourage, Outlook, Apple Mail or Thunderbird.

To summarize: Make your life easier by migrating your email service from POP to IMAP. In addition, establish a secondary email address that will divert non-vital emails from your main inbox on both your computer and your smartphone.