Does Dovecot allow different clients to subscribe different subsets of IMAP folders?

Daniel Tröder troeder at
Thu Jun 4 14:24:46 UTC 2015

Hi Steve,

I don't think the IMAP protocol has the concept of a "user agent". So
there is no way for an IMAP server to distinguish between client programs.

You could use POP and poll different mailboxes - but your clients
probably don't support that. So you'll have to use different users.

But that give you a cool solution: Use shared mailboxes.

You could share all mailboxes of you main user to all the "device-users"
and then use the clients to subscribe only to those mailboxes that are
of interest.

That way you can change what a client sees using the client program,
without logging into the server as root. Especially nice, when you are
traveling and decide you need to read a mailbox with your mobile you
hadn't though about before.


Am 04.06.2015 um 14:40 schrieb Steve:
> I have a working Dovecot IMAP server (v. 2.2.9) where I have a single
> user but a lot of folders (over 800 in total, hierarchically arranged,
> about 50 of which are in active use.)
> I have multiple clients (including k9Mail on Android and Thunderbird on
> Linux and Windows). These clients all present a consistent subscription
> to a single subset of the available folders .
> What I'd like to be able to do is (somehow) allow different devices
> (different email clients) to subscribe to a different subset of folders.
> For example, I may want K9mail on my phone to be subscribed only to my
> "main Inbox" - but for Thunderbird on Windows to also be subscribed to
> active mailing-list folders.
> Does Dovecot support such a mode of operation? If so, how do I configure
> it? If not, what options are there to achieve the desired end result -
> i.e. different devices/IMAP clients subscribed to different subsets of
> the universe of folders available to a single user.
> Mandatory details:
> Version : 2.2.9
> Configuration: See

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