The “outbox” folder and “sent” folder are often used synonymously, but they have very different features and functions under which they perform.
- The Outbox is a temporary folder in email clients where messages are stored before being sent to recipients.
- The Sent folder contains copies of messages successfully delivered to their recipients.
- Messages may remain in the Outbox due to connectivity issues or delays, whereas the Sent folder records previously sent emails.
Outbox vs Sent
The difference between outbox and sent is that outbox stores all the messages or the drafts which have not been delivered yet and further can be edited and deleted as per choice. The sent stores all the messages that have been successfully delivered and no further changes can be made.
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The outbox folder is a space where all the outgoing messages are temporarily stored. During the process of composing a message the data automatically gets saved as a draft in your outbox.
The sent folder on the other hand is the space where all your messages move once they have been sent to the recipient.
|Parameter of Comparison||Outbox||Sent|
|Purpose||The outbox is a holding cell for your messages until they are sent to the recipient successfully by the server.||The sent folder is the collection of all the messages that have been successfully delivered to the recipient by the mail server.|
|Delivery Status||All the messages that are in the outbox are in the process of being sent||All the messages that have been successfully sent to the desired recipient are stored in the sent folder.|
|Accessibility||The messages in the outbox folder can still be reviewed and changes can be made as per your will. The messages can also be deleted if no longer required.||The messages in the sent folder cannot be edited any further as they have been sent to the desired recipient already.|
|Status||It is often denoted as the temporary holding cell.||It permanently stores all the messages that have been sent.|
|Outlook||The file stores only the unsent messages.||All the messages that have been sent can be kept track of for future reference.|
What is Outbox?
The outbox folder is the first step in the process of sending a message. The outbox folder temporarily holds all your messages that you have formed.
It is a safe place for you messages as they remain there until a secure connection has been established between the mail serve and the receiver. After the process of composing a message when it is sent it directly moves to the outbox folder where it stands at hold until a secure connection is available with the SMPT (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server leading to the connection being established.
The other messages which are also commnly stored in the outbox are the messages are the ones which have failed to successfully deliver to the recipient due to any internet connectivity issue. While the messages are stored in this folder you can also further re-edit your messages if required, as the messages have still not been sent.
Once the mail server reconnects with the recipient and the message is successfully sent to the receiver the message will no longer remain in the outbox folder and with transfer automatically to the sent folder.
What is Sent?
The sent folder is the final stage in the process of sending a message. The sent folder commonly stores all the messages that have been successfully sent by the sender to the recipient.
All the messages the messages that have been sent through the mail server are stored here. Unlike the outbox folder the messages in this folder cannot be edited or deleted any further as they have already been delivered and received by the recipient.
Various email clients have their own tags to label the sent messages. For Gmail it is commonly “sent mail” whereas for Microsoft outlook’s the chosen tag is “sent item”.
Most of the email servers specifically choose “sent” folder as their default.
Main Differences Between Outbox and Sent
- The main difference between outbox and sent is that the outbox folder temporarily stores all the messages that are being sent. They store it for a certain period of time where as the sent folder permanently stores all the messages that have been successfully delivered by the sender.
- The messages that are stored in the outbox folder can be further edited or deleted as per will as they have not been sent to the recipient yet. Unlike the outbox folder in the sent folder no further changes can be made in the messages as the recipient have successfully received the messages.
- Certain times due to connectivity issues between the email client and the mail service the message often gets stored in the outbox and is unable to be delivered however after the connectivity issue is fixed and the message is delivered the message shifts to the sent folder.
- The messages in the outbox folder are waiting for a secure server connection to be established whereas the messages in the sent folder have already gone through the process of securing an established connection and have hence been delivered to the recipient.
- The messages in the outbox folder are yet to be delivered whereas the messages that are stored in the sent folder have already been delivered to the recipient.
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.