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Reference: Gmail Web Interface vs. Email Clients
This article explains the difference between accessing your University email account from the web interface and through email clients.
At the University of Minnesota, our email web interface is managed through Google. Sometimes, it is referred to as the "Gmail Web Interface," or "Gmail." You can access it by navigating to http://gmail.umn.edu in your web browser.
There are a number of email clients you can use to access your University email account, including Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, and Mozilla Thunderbird. These clients offer different ways to access the same email.
When would I want to use the web interface?
The web interface is easy to use from public computers, where you may not want your login details to be stored on the computer for long periods of time. Additionally, the Web Interface only needs your username and password in order to let you access your email. The Web Interface works with little user configuration, while email clients can have an involved setup process.
When would I want to use an Email Client?
Email clients provide a way for you to create, send, and store your email on your own computer. Some email clients have more options for fonts, styles, and formatting than web clients. Additionally, some email clients have specialized features that may not exist in a web interface. Email clients also allow users to save email conversations to their computers and back them up as though they were Word documents or other types of files.
Smartphone users likely use an email client to send and receive email on their devices. In a mobile setting, email clients are dominant because they can be tightly integrated with the rest of the phone. All of the major mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) have built-in email clients.
You can access your University email account through the web interface at http://gmail.umn.edu
Our email client setup guides are located at http://oit.umn.edu/email/setup-guides
If you have any questions about accessing your email through any method, please contact Technology Help.