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Office 365 and IMAP – an update

12 Jun 2020

While the majority of our staff and postgraduates access their University email using Outlook, macOS mail or mobile apps, some choose to use other email software which uses the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP). If this is you, please read this technical update about IMAP and Office 365.

Microsoft recently made an announcement extending their support for IMAP with basic (legacy) authentication on Office 365, from October 2020 to sometime in the “second half of 2021”, with a more precise date still to be confirmed.

IMAP is currently disabled on our Office 365 tenant, both as the default setting and because an external security audit recommended that the University did not enable it due to it being basic (legacy) authentication. However, we are aware that a large number of people use IMAP to collect their University email, and that some preferred email clients may not support modern protocols to access Office 365 services – meaning they can no longer be used once your University email and calendar have been transferred to Office 365.

The University’s Information Governance Office (IGO) has now approved the extended use of IMAP, and IT Services are currently security testing Office 365 with IMAP and OAuth 2.0 (modern) authentication. Once this is sufficiently tested it will be made available as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, if you use Linux and have already been transferred to Office 365, you can access your University emails via webmail at https://outlook.com/manchester.ac.uk . If you’ve not yet been transferred, this won’t happen until we have the tested IMAP solution in place.

We are also recommending the use of ‘Evolution’, and are currently working on configuration instructions for this. Once available we will update the Office 365 guides and resources page on StaffNet.

Thank you for bearing with us as we support the University’s request to accelerate the rollout of Office 365 to all staff and postgraduate research students.