On iOS, you enter your password, once, and you can then check your emails via the email app.
Does the app send the password everytime it updates your email?
Is it secure to check your emails this way while connected to a public wifi?
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Yes, the app stores your password an uses it to authenticate every time it queries your mail account. This is no different from a stationary mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird.
The password is not transmitted in clear over the network. It is either sent through a TLS encrypted connection or used in a challenge/response authentication scheme. So it is reasonably secure against interception.
In a public WLAN, there's an increased possibility of man-in-the-middle attacks, so you should make sure that your device is reasonably secure against that, for example by properly checking TLS certificates. If in doubt, use a VPN tunnel. This holds for all network services, not just E-mail.
Yes, the Device will store your password, this password will be protected within the device. Previously, i had intercepted the password being transmitted in clear text using ARP-Poisoning my network (on iPhone 5) but after the OS getting upgraded, this didnt work.
But now this is being replaced by "app-specific" passwords, where we need to generate a different password for our device eg. iPhone on the web portal eg. gmail. This portal generated password will be the new identifier for authentication to gmail. The security of passwords stored locally depends on how the OS of the device protects the data and transmits it to pull emails from servers. Normally, device fetches emails via encrypted channels from email providers like gmail, outlook, etc. you can see that in your email settings.
Trying to access emails and/or any other information from open/public wifi should be avoided. if the email authentication over the network is happening in clear text, then there is a risk of the credentials being sniffed/disclosed. In short, it is not advisable. Better use Cellular data or tunnel the traffic using a VPN
In short, avoid public access points because, our device leaks out lots of information when connected to any hotspot, such information can tell much about the device.