Mail_IMAP requires the PHP imap (c-client) extension.
Mail_IMAP requires the c-client library (the imap extension) to connect to and interact with mail servers. For Windows the c-client library is included in the zip distribution of PHP, and is included as a DLL, see php.ini for installation instructions.
For Mac and Linux operating systems, you have several options. First, you can download and compile c-client, and then compile PHP with c-client enabled, see the imap extension documentation for more information. Or you may compile only the imap extension (without recompiling PHP) and include the resulting imap.so extension in php.ini. Or you may simply use your favorite package manager to install the extension, provided that the extension is available in your repository of choice (going this route, you'll likely already have installed php using the same package manager, ensuring compatibility between php and the extension).
I found the instructions on this website helpful for compiling the imap extension for Mac OS X Mountain Lion. These instructions can be used to add the imap extension to the PHP built into OSX, or to add the imap extension to php obtained from a Mac package repository, or to a version of PHP you compiled yourself.
Unzip the package, move the scripts it contains to a suitable location, and include them in your script(s) as needed.
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