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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
      9  TCP/IP Key Applications and Application Protocols
           9  TCP/IP File and Message Transfer Applications and Protocols (FTP, TFTP, Electronic Mail, USENET, HTTP/WWW, Gopher)
                9  TCP/IP Electronic Mail System: Concepts and Protocols (RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, POP3, IMAP)
                     9  TCP/IP Electronic Mail Access and Retrieval Protocols and Methods
                          9  TCP/IP Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP/IMAP4)

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IMAP Not Authenticated State: User Authentication Process and Commands
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IMAP Selected State: Message Manipulation Process and Commands
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IMAP Authenticated State: Mailbox Manipulation/Selection Process and Commands
(Page 2 of 2)

The SELECT and EXAMINE Commands

When either the SELECT or EXAMINE command is successfully issued, the server will return to the client a set of useful information about the mailbox, which can be used to guide commands issued from the Selected state. This information includes the following three mandatory responses:

  • <n> EXISTS: Tells the client the number of messages in the mailbox.

  • <n> RECENT: Tells the client the number of recently-arrived (new) messages.

  • FLAGS (<flag-list>): Tells the client which flags are supported in the mailbox. These include the following: “\Seen”, “\Answered”, “\Flagged” (marked for special attention), “\Deleted”, “\Draft” and “\Recent”. (The backslashes are part of the flag names.)

The reply from the server may also contain these optional replies:

  • UNSEEN <n>: The message number of the first unseen message.

  • PERMANENTFLAGS (<flag-list>): A list of flags (as for the FLAGS response above) that the client is allowed to change.

  • UIDNEXT <n>: The next unique identifier value. This is used to check for changes made to the mailbox since the client last accessed it.

  • UIDVALIDITY <n>: The unique identifier validity value, used to confirm valid UID values.

Key Concept: In the Authenticated state, the IMAP client can perform operations on whole mailboxes, such as creating, renaming or deleting mailboxes, or listing mailbox contents. The SELECT and EXAMINE commands are used to tell the IMAP server which mailbox the client wants to open for message-specific access. Successful execution of either command causes the server to provide the client with several pieces of important information about the mailbox, after which the session transitions to the Selected state.



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IMAP Not Authenticated State: User Authentication Process and Commands
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IMAP Selected State: Message Manipulation Process and Commands
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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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