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How to Backup IMAP Emails Locally? Complete Guide

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On November 28th, 2023
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Backup
Summary: Here we are going to discuss the process of Backup IMAP emails locally on both Mac and Windows. There are two methods with a free and automatic solution to export IMAP emails. You can choose either method to save your IMAP emails locally as per your convenience.

There are many IMAP email services available that help users to send and receive emails. We have listed a few services like Yahoo, AOL, Exchange server, Gmail, Outlook.com, Kerio Connect, Hotmail, etc. These servers are very common for accessing email messages anytime, anywhere. But it works with a proper internet connection.

Sometimes users want to backup IMAP emails and export them locally for future use. Users do not want to lose any of their data, whether essential or not. Data loss can occur due to application crashes, virus attacks, physical damage, etc. Therefore, we are here to provide you with the best IMAP email backup tool to export your IMAP data.

User Query

Hello, I want my IMAP emails to be saved locally so that I can work without internet connectivity. But I tried to export IMAP emails manually, but it was tedious and difficult for me. Because I don’t have much technical knowledge and I don’t want to lose anything. So, please suggest to me the best and most straightforward solution to backup IMAP emails on Mac. Thanks in advance. “

Understand the IMAP Server

There are many methods for accessing your emails on an email server, including IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), POP (Post Office Protocol), and SMTP (Sending and Receiving) emails. IMAP helps you to access your emails from any device. Without downloading the emails from the server, just connect your email client to the server and use it.

IMAP Email Backup Using MS Outlook – Manual Approach

For your knowledge, if MS Outlook is configured with IMAP (new Outlook versions 2013 and older), then the default data is stored in the OST file. On the other hand, if Outlook is set up with POP then standard data is saved in PST format.

Your backup IMAP emails are saved in OST format, so first you need to export them into PST format. Outlook has an in-built Import/Export option for exporting OST data from an IMAP mailbox to PST format. Hence, we are providing a manual method to download IMAP mailbox to PST format.

  1. Open the Microsoft Outlook (2013, 2016, & 2019) application. Click on the File menu >> Open & Export >> Import/Export option on the right pane.
    (Make sure IMAP is selected before configuring the IMAP account).
  2. From the next window, choose the “Export to a file” option and hit the “next” button.
  3. Choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” from the “Export to a File” screen.
  4. Now, choose the IMAP mailbox folder to which you want to backup your IMAP emails. Keep in mind that you can backup one mailbox at a time.
  5. Then, click on the Browse option to choose the location.
  6. Finally, the exporting process from the IMAP account OST file to PST will get started. It will take time according to the amount of data.

Note: This manual method is only for Windows users.

Export IMAP Emails by Using Apple Mail on Mac

  1. Configure your account in the Apple Mail app and choose the mailbox that you want to backup.
  2. Then right-click on the mailbox and hit the “Export Mailbox” option.
  3. Thereafter, save your backup file accordingly.
  4. Lastly, your Mac IMAP emails are saved in .mbox format.

Loopholes of Manual Method

  1. There is a high risk of data loss.
  2. This process is difficult for non-novice users.
  3. If your data is huge, then this process is not suitable.
  4. Risk of incomplete data.
  5. Backup bulk processing is not supported.
  6. Time-taking process.
  7. Both manual methods only store a single email or folder at a time.

A Professional Approach to Backup IMAP Emails on Mac

The EmailDoctor IMAP Backup tool is the best solution to export your IMAP data from any IMAP email server. This tool is created with an advanced algorithm to backup IMAP emails locally on Mac without any modification. This software is developed by keeping the novice user in mind. It provides many features that are required to save IMAP folders for Mac smoothly.

Download Now Purchase Now

Steps to Export IMAP Emails

  1. Firstly, download the software, select the IMAP Host and provide account credentials.
    choose IMAP host for backup
  2. Secondly, the software uploads all the data on the software screen. Choose accordingly.
    choose IMAP folder
  3. Now, choose the file format to export IMAP emails locally from the various saving options.
    select file format to backup IMAP emails
  4. To apply the filter, click the “Advanced setting” button.
    apply advance setting to export IMAP data
  5. After that, click on the change button to choose the destination location to export your backup IMAP data.
  6. The live backup process is on the software. Wait a while, after completing the process, the software will show you a pop-up message.
    backup Mac IMAP emails successfully

Software Features

  1. The IMAP Backup tool gives you the selective option to backup selective IMAP emails. If users don’t want to export unnecessary data, then this tool is an ideal solution.
  2. With this tool, users can export IMAP emails to any file format without any file size limitations. This software is totally free from viruses so users can easily bulk export IMAP data to other formats.
  3. This tool is special for Mac users, and it supports all the latest and previous versions of Mac OS.
  4. It is capable of backing up IMAP emails on Mac in batch without losing any folders or subfolders. It preserves the folder hierarchy during the export process.


Q- What is the easiest way to save IMAP emails locally in bulk without data loss?

The simplest and easiest way for IMAP email backup is to use the IMAP backup software and follow the quick steps.

  1. Download the tool and install on your device.
  2. Provide the necessary credentials and continue.
  3. Select the desired file format for saving the emails locally.
  4. Apply advanced settings as per requirement.
  5. Finally, start backup of your IMAP emails.

Q- I am a ProtonMail user, can I use the tool to save my emails?

Yes, you can export ProtonMail emails using the given tool on your Mac device.

Bottom Line

In the above section, we provide you with a top-notch solution to backup IMAP emails locally without the help of any third-party tool. So, a free demo version can be saved without investing a single penny to check the functionality. We explained a manual solution to export IMAP emails on both Mac and Windows OS, but it has some drawbacks that are holding up this process.