How does e-mail work on mobile devices?

jwriter

Valued Member
My main experience is on desktop machines, so I would like to know:
1. What is the main protocol used on mobile devices?
2. Is the same protocol generally used on iPhones as well as Android devices?
3. What are the most common mail apps used on these phones?
4. Where do the messages and address books reside? Do they generally remain on the mail server and then synced with the device? When does this occur, and is it on a continuous basis? Going back to question 1, is IMAP protocol generally used to support multiple email clients?
Thank you.
 

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
Hi @jwriter
  1. I believe most connections to popular email services are IMAP or ActiveSync these days. The encrypted email services that made apps available might be using custom API's / protocols. I'll need to check into that.
  2. Yes.
  3. That's up to what the user prefers. iPhone has it's default mail app. There are free apps such as Outlook that work well. Some services such as Gmail and Yahoo have apps for their specific services too.
  4. It depends. It's possible to have local contacts that are not synced back to the servers. The email is usually stored on the mail servers and sycned/cached to your phone. How often depends on your config too. Mail settings can be configured to alert you when you receive a new email, which requires the phone checking the servers and can drain your battery faster, or you can config to have the apps only check when you manually swipe and ask the app to check for new email.
I leave mine setup to only check for new email when the app is opened or I manually swipe asking it to check again. I don't need my phone beeping for every new email :)
 

jwriter

Valued Member
Good information. My friend's gmail account was used by spammers who targeted names in her address book and spoofed the "from" field to look like her. She said all her messages have "disappeared". Assuming the system is IMAP based, then several things could have happened: a) the spammers deleted the messages but left her password in tact or b) the spammers changed her password and she can no longer cache her messages or c) Google deleted the messages, as she had not used the account for a long time. I'll try to diagnose what happened. Is it common for spammers to change passwords? Seems like a lot of trouble and not really necessary to use the account to send messages.
 

popowich

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
It's common for spammers to delete emails to remove bounce messages and in an attempt to conceal their access & activity.

Yes, sometimes they'll steal an account by changing the password too.

She'll need to check her settings for any backdoors such as email forwards that could still be sending password reset emails etc to a 3rd party.
 

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