Internet-Draft IMAP JMAPACCESS May 2024
Gulbrandsen & Gondwana Expires 16 November 2024 [Page]
Intended Status:
Standards Track
A. Gulbrandsen
B. Gondwana

The JMAPACCESS Extension for IMAP


This document defines an IMAP extension to let clients know that the messages in this IMAP server are also available via JMAP, and how. It is intended for clients that want to migrate gradually to JMAP or use JMAP extensions within an IMAP client.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 16 November 2024.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

An IMAP server can declare that the messages in its mailstore are also available via JMAP. For simplicity, only a complete equivalence is supported (the same set of messages are available via both IMAP and JMAP).

2. Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

3. Details

By advertising the JMAPACCESS capability, the server asserts that if a mailbox or message has a particular object ID when accessed via either IMAP or JMAP (see [RFC3501], [RFC9051] and [RFC8620]), then the same mailbox or message is accessible via the other protocol, and it has the same ID.

The server MUST also advertise the OBJECTID extension, defined by [RFC8474]. The JMAP session resource that allows access to the same messages is called "the JMAP server" below.

This specification does not affect message lifetime: If a client accesses a message via IMAP and half a second later via JMAP, then the message may have been deleted between the two accesses.

When the server processes the client's LOGIN/AUTHENTICATE command and enters Authenticated state, the server considers the way the client authenticated. If the IMAP server can infer from the client's authentication process that its credentials suffice to authenticate via JMAP, then the server MUST include a JMAPACCESS capability in any capability list sent after that point. This includes the capability list that some servers send immediately when authentication succeeds.

Servers are encouraged to report the same message flags and other data via both protocols, as far as possible.

This specification does not require mailboxes to have the same name in IMAP and JMAP, even if they share mailbox ID. However, the JMAP specification regulates that, in the text about the name and role properties in [RFC8620] section 2.

Note that all JMAP servers support internationalized email addresses (see [RFC6530]). If this IMAP server does not, or the IMAP client does not issue ENABLE UTF8=ACCEPT (see [RFC6855]), then there is a possibility that the client receives accurate address fields via JMAP and downgraded fields via IMAP (see (see [RFC6857] and [RFC6858] for examples). Issuing ENABLE UTF8=ACCEPT is a simple way to sidestep the issue.

4. The GETJMAPACCESS command and the JMAPACCESS response

The GETJMAPACCESS command requests that the server respond with the session URL for the JMAP server that provides access to the same mail.

If such a JMAP server is known to this server, the server MUST respond with an untagged JMAPACCESS response containing the JMAP server's session resource (a URL) followed by a tagged OK response.

If such a JMAP server is not known, the server MUST respond with a tagged BAD response (and MUST NOT include JMAPACCESS in the capability list).

The JMAPACCESS response is followed by a single link to a JMAP session resource. The server/mailstore at that location is referenced as "the JMAP server" in this document.

The formal syntax in [RFC9051] is extended thus:

command-auth =/ "GETJMAPACCESS"

mailbox-data =/ resp-jmapaccess

resp-jmapaccess = "JMAPACCESS" SP quoted

The syntax in [RFC3501] is extended similarly (this extension may be used with IMAP4rev1 as well as IMAP4rev2).

5. Examples

Lines sent by the client are preceded by C:, lines sent by the server by S:. Each example starts with the IMAP banner issued by the server on connection, and generally abbreviates the capability lists to what's required by the example itself.

Real connections use longer capability lists, much longer AUTHENTICATE arguments and of course use TLS. These examples focus on JMAPACCESS, though.

Example 1. A client connects, sees that SASL OAUTH is available, and authenticates in that way.


The server processes the command successfully. It knows that the client used Oauth, and that it and its JMAP alter ego use the same Oauth backend subsystem. Because of that it infers that the (next) access token is just as usable via JMAP as via IMAP. It includes a JMAPACCESS capability in its reply (again, real capability lists are much longer):

S: 1b OK done

SASL OAUTH is specified by [RFC7628], and the argument in this example is abbreviated from the more realistic length used in RFC7628.

Example 2. A client connects, sees no SASL method it recognises, and issues a LOGIN command.

S: * OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev2] example2
C: 2 LOGIN "arnt" "trondheim"

The server sees that the password is accepted, knows that it and its JMAP alter ego use the same password database, and issues a JMAPACCESS capability:

S: 2 OK done
S: * JMAPACCESS "[jmap]"
S: 2b OK done

The URL uses the same quoting rules as most other IMAP strings.

Example 3. A client connects, sees no SASL method it recognises, and issues a LOGIN command with a correct password.

S: * OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 IMAP4rev2] example3
C: 3 LOGIN "arnt" "trondheim"

The server operator has decided to disable password use with JMAP, but allow it for a while with IMAP to cater to older clients, so the login succeeds, but there is no JMAPACCESS capability.

S: 3 OK done

Example 4. A client connects, sees no SASL method it recognises, and issues a LOGIN command. Its password is incorrect.

S: * OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev2 AUTH=GSS] example4
C: 4 LOGIN "arnt" "oslo"

The server does not enter Authenticated state, so nothing requires it to mention JMAPACCESS. It replies curtly:

S: 4 NO done

6. IANA Considerations

The IANA is requested to add the JMAPACCESS capability the IMAP Capabilities registry, with this document as reference.

7. Security Considerations

JMAPACCESS reveals to authenticated IMAP clients that they would be able to authenticate via JMAP using the same credentials, and that the object IDs match.

One does not normally reveal anything at all about authentication. However, in this case information is revealed to an authenticated client, the revealed URL can usually be found via JMAP autodiscovery, and an attacker would only need to try the credentials it has with an autodiscovered JMAP URL (a matter of a second or two). Therefore, it is believed that this document does not benefit an attacker noticeably, and its value for migration far outweighs its risk.

8. References

8.1. Normative References

Crispin, M., "INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4rev1", RFC 3501, DOI 10.17487/RFC3501, , <>.
Gondwana, B., Ed., "IMAP Extension for Object Identifiers", RFC 8474, DOI 10.17487/RFC8474, , <>.
Melnikov, A., Ed. and B. Leiba, Ed., "Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - Version 4rev2", RFC 9051, DOI 10.17487/RFC9051, , <>.
Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <>.

8.2. Informative References

Klensin, J. and Y. Ko, "Overview and Framework for Internationalized Email", RFC 6530, DOI 10.17487/RFC6530, , <>.
Resnick, P., Ed., Newman, C., Ed., and S. Shen, Ed., "IMAP Support for UTF-8", RFC 6855, DOI 10.17487/RFC6855, , <>.
Fujiwara, K., "Post-Delivery Message Downgrading for Internationalized Email Messages", RFC 6857, DOI 10.17487/RFC6857, , <>.
Gulbrandsen, A., "Simplified POP and IMAP Downgrading for Internationalized Email", RFC 6858, DOI 10.17487/RFC6858, , <>.
Mills, W., Showalter, T., and H. Tschofenig, "A Set of Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) Mechanisms for OAuth", RFC 7628, DOI 10.17487/RFC7628, , <>.
Jenkins, N. and C. Newman, "The JSON Meta Application Protocol (JMAP)", RFC 8620, DOI 10.17487/RFC8620, , <>.

Authors' Addresses

Arnt Gulbrandsen
6 Rond Point Schumann, Bd. 1
1040 Brussels
Bron Gondwana
Level 2, 114 William St.
Melbourne VIC 3000