Syncing Your iPad Email With POP3, Outlook, Other Email

I get a lot of emails from new iPad owners that are looking for help when it comes to email.  And more specifically, they want to know how to sync their Outlook to their iPad.  Most of the time, however, these Outlook users are not using work email accounts and thus it’s time for a tutorial on how to get other kinds of email on your iPad if you are used to using Outlook on your home computer or laptop.

Syncing Your iPad Email With POP3, Outlook, Other Email

So you just got an iPad and you are trying to figure out how to get your email synced.  When you go into the settings and then into the Mail, Contacts and Calendars section you notice that there are several options for adding your mail accounts but what if you do not have one of the listed options?  And what if you are using Outlook as the way to get email on your home computer? Well here is how to you can actually take care of this and get all your email synced no matter what provider you have.

The Issue With Outlook

So here is the main issue with Outlook.  Unless you are getting your email from your work where they maintain the email on an Exchange Server, you are most likely using Outlook on your home computer as a way to read email from another source.  An example would be if you have comcast or another Internet provider and you followed the directions on their site to use Outlook in order to read your email.  This is very common and in fact you might even be using Outlook Express or Windows Mail application as well.

So back to the main question of “How do I sync my Outlook with my iPad?”

Now if you are using Outlook from work and they maintain your email on an Exchange Server then there is an option right in your Mail, Contacts and Calendar settings.  Your IT administrator can help you but generally it’s as easy as entering in your work email address and your password and then it syncs up.  They need to support ActiveSync technology but that is a function that an IT department will have to put into place.

If you are not using Outlook from work and you fall into the category described above then you will not be able to sync “Outlook” with your iPad but you can get your email on your iPad from whatever provider you have that is taking care of all your email.  For example, if you are using Godaddy, or Hostgator, or you have an email account from Comcast then there will be specific ways of doing this.  But both ways focus on two specific protocols explained below.

1. POP3.  This is an older email protocol that allows you to “pull” email from your provider.  And when you set up Outlook on your computer you may have remembered seeing this word somewhere.  POP3 is not a syncing protocol.  It is simply a way to pull down your email messages. Now, you can pull a copy of them and then “leave them on the email server” so you can pull them using multiple devices like your phone and laptop but generally speaking POP3 is not true syncing.

2.  IMAP.  This is a newer email protocol that behaves much like POP3 but the exception is that you can sync your mail with it.  So instead of just pulling down your email, it will actually sync what you have on your iPad (or other device) and your provider’s email servers.

Some providers do not support IMAP but most of them do and in fact some only support IMAP these days.

How To Setup Your POP3 Or IMAP Accounts

So now you know about Outlook.  Let’s get started with getting your email on your iPad when you have been used to using Outlook on your computer or laptop.  There are so many various email providers that it would be impossible to list each one’s instructions for getting email onto your iPad but here is what you can do.  Go to the support section of your email provider’s website and do a search for either “POP3 Email” or “IMAP”.  You can also do a search for “Email On an iPhone” as that will probably be there far more likely so than using the word “iPad”.  And really it’s all the same process.  In fact, here is an example of some instructions from GoDaddy.

Once you have located the specific information from your provider, go ahead and do the following on your iPad:

  1. Tap on Settings
  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Tap on “Add Account…”
  4. Tap on “Other”
  5. Tap on “Add Mail Account”
  6. Enter your Name, email address, password, and an optional name for this account
  7. Tap on “Next” up at the top of the screen
  8. You will now be taken to a new screen
  9. If you are using POP then tap on that. If you are using IMAP then tap on that.
  10. Here is where you will enter all of the information that your provider gives to you in their instructions

Once you are all done with this, you should start getting your email right onto your iPad that you were getting through Outlook before. Keep in mind that this is only one of many ways to get your email from a 3rd party provider.  Sometimes they have apps you can get (as in the case of Comcast) or sometimes it’s just as easy to use their web-based email portal.

There is one last thing to remember in regards to POP3.  When you see an option for “leaving the messages on the server” which is normally located in the email settings on your provider’s website (not on the iPad) then use this with care.  If you choose to NOT leave them on the server then they will ONLY be on your iPad and they will not any longer be on your computer via Outlook.  It’s best if you just leave them on the server and only download a copy.  This way, you don’t accidentally lose any email.


Originally posted 2011-05-09 13:01:03.


  1. Patricia Florenco says:

    Hi Shane, I am getting Pocket Informant and it syncs with Google email. I have yahoo. How can I get around this? I have a gmail account but prefer Yahoo. Would I follow the procedures you outline here? I can follow instructions but have no idea how to do it on my own. Thank you

  2. gary king says:

    OutlookReflex enables me to access my Ms outlook email to ipad.

  3. Kostas says:

    Hi Shane, I have a laptop running windows 8 and Outlook 2010, with a POP3 mail account and an iPad 2 with a POP3 mail account. Is there ANY way to fully synchronize the two accounts? I am more interested in synchronizing the mails and less in synchronizing the Calendar or the Contacts. Thanks a lot.

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