IMAP on Office365 to be Discontinued for Improved Mail Security

Email iconThe Internet Message Access Protocol or IMAP was created as an easy way for a variety of email clients to retrieve email messages from a mail server over a standard internet connection. Typically, these messages were left on the server until the user decided to delete them. Currently, the vast majority of individuals utilize the preferred Exchange configuration which is the default for most modern email clients like Microsoft Outlook or the Outlook mobile app. However, there are still a small number of individuals using the older IMAP protocol. While SMU has supported IMAP for around 30 years, that support will end this summer for email accounts hosted in Office 365 (Exchange Online).  Please note: Faculty and staff email accounts hosted in our Exchange Server on-campus environment (webmail.smu.edu) will NOT be impacted.

Improving Email Security

Office 365 Login
The current Office 365 login will be replaced in the coming weeks.

In an effort to improve email security, several changes will be implemented to ultimately safeguard student email accounts with Duo two-factor authentication.  In order to require Duo, a significant change in the authentication configuration must be made.  One of the results of this change is that IMAP will no longer work for Office 365.  Therefore, the IMAP protocol will be disabled in Office 365 on May 20, 2019. This first step will allow us to move forward with enabling Modern Authentication, then Single Sign-On (SSO), and finally protecting your Office365 account with Duo two-factor authentication by the end of May 2019. As each of these changes is implemented, you might notice some differences in the authentication prompts for your email account on Exchange Online and your email client. For example, you will no longer see the basic authentication prompt with the saved username and password. You will instead see the Active Directory sign-on screen. This will be replaced by the Single Sign-On (SSO) login at a later date.

Older Email Clients

For users of older email clients, the discontinuation of IMAP support and enabling of Modern Authentication will require either minor changes to your email client or switching to another client.  We recommend upgrading to at least Office 2016 and using an email client, such as Outlook 2016 or higher, to enjoy continued access to your email without interruptions. Microsoft Office can be downloaded to your personal device via office.smu.edu at no charge.

If you have any questions or concerns about the ending of support for IMAP, please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-HELP (4357).

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is the IT Communications Specialist and Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He started at SMU in 1996 and, for much of his career at the University, had managed the SMU STAR Program before joining the Training & Communications Team in 2015. In his free time, Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family. You can see examples of when the two collide at ianaberle.com.