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

Steve sjh_dovecot at
Thu Jun 4 14:43:28 UTC 2015

Hi Daniel,

Hmm - I'm happy to use different 'user names' to log into Dovecot... as 
long as each of these logins can still subscribe to the same universe of 
folders I have available at present.  I can envision using steve_mobile 
and steve_desktop as logins, as long as these still provide access to 
the same mailboxes as I have in steve's Maildir folder.

I'm guessing that this would mean I can't/shouldn't use PAM for Dovecot 
authentication? I don't really want to create 'dummy' (shell-account) 
"users" on my server... but, I guess, it would be OK if I were to use 
some other authentication mechanism, and pointed all these Dovecot-only 
logins to the same Maildir folder.

By any chance, is there a 'howto' detailing a suitable sample 
configuration for such a setup?

BTW - I would definitely want to be able to change subscriptions from 
any device...  I just want independent subscriptions for my 
tablet/phone/desktop/VM clients - as I use email in different ways from 
these different environments.

On 04/06/2015 15:24, Daniel Tröder wrote:
> 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.
> Greetings
> Daniel

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