How IMAP folders synchronize in different email clients

IMAP folder subscriptions allow you to choose which folders appear in your email program/client/webmail interface.

Usually, all folders are shown by default, but some email clients have peculiarities and may not show all your folders by default. For example, there's sometimes an issue with syncing your sent items folder.

Additionally, some email clients/applications may save the emails you send to different folders. For example, by default, our Private Email Webmail keeps the emails you send in a folder named "Sent". But other platforms may use "Sent Items" or “Sent Messages” which sometimes causes conflict.

While it is not possible to change the folder for sent emails in Outlook, you can choose the folder in clients like Private Email and MacMail. This can make it easier when adding IMAP accounts.

Below, you can find instructions on how to change your sent folder in some of the most common email clients.

NOTE: If your email account is set up using POP3 in an email client, changing which folder is the sent items folder won’t be possible. Unlike POP3, IMAP offers two-way communication between your web email and your email client. With POP3, the actions you perform in an email client are not applied to the actual mailbox on the server - they are applied only locally (e.g.: if you put an email into a different folder in your email client, and then open that mailbox via webmail, the change won’t be shown in webmail).

Private Email Webmail

You can set which folders from your source email account will be shown Settings >> Mail >> and clicking the "Change IMAP subscriptions" button.

The folders you select will be imported into webmail, but any that aren’t selected won't appear.
To show all folders, check all the boxes and click "Save".

You can also choose which folder will be for sent items via Webmail. For that, go to Settings >> Accounts >> and click "Edit" next to your email account.

A pop-up window with the settings for your mailbox will appear. Scroll down to the Standard folders section, and select the folder that matches how your source account displays its Sent messages folder. Don’t forget to save the changes.


Click the "Folder" tab in Outlook, then "IMAP folders". In the resulting pop-up window press the "Query" button.

A list of folders will appear. The ones with a folder icon are syncing with the server, and the ones without do not sync, they only exist locally:

If any of the folders you want to sync don't have the icon, please select them and click "Subscribe":

We’re using Outlook 2016 in this example. Other versions of Outlook for desktop have a similar process for IMAP, but the newest edition doesn’t support IMAP subscriptions.

Mac Mail

Mac Mail usually syncs all folders by default. Still, the folder for sent emails can be manually selected if it doesn’t match your mapped mailbox.

To set the preferred folder for sent emails in MacMail, go to Mail >> Preferences >> Accounts, and select the correct account. Open the Mailbox Behaviors tab on that account, and choose the necessary folder from the drop-down menu for Sent Mailbox under the server section. This folder will now be used by MacMail to store sent emails.


To change the folder for syncing sent emails on your iPhone, tap Settings >> Mail >> and then select your email account in the Accounts section.

Next, click Account settings, scroll down (if needed), and tap Advanced. You’ll see a section titled Mailbox Behaviors at the top. To change the behavior for sent emails, choose 'Sent mailbox' there.

Click the “sent” folder in the "On The Server" section. A check will appear next to the folder — from now on, emails you send from your iPhone will be stored in it.


In Thunderbird, right-click on your email account and choose "Subscribe...".

A pop-up window with a list of your folders will appear. As with the other ones, folders with a check will be the ones shown in your email client.

Other phone apps

Outlook on mobile devices syncs all folders by default, so all your folders will appear when your email account is set up using IMAP. It also does not support selecting folders to sync or where to save sent emails.

If your email account is set up using IMAP in the Gmail app on Android, Exchange setup in the Gmail app syncs everything too — all folders will sync to your device by default but there’s also no functionality to choose syncing folders or a folder for sent emails.

In case you are using the Exchange setup in the Gmail app, you can choose the folders that are shown here. Go to Settings >> choose account >> open Folder sync settings.

A list of your folders will appear, and by clicking on a folder, you can manage the folder synchronization settings (folder sync on/off, days of mail to sync, or even delete the folder).

That`s it!
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