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Configuring Mail for your email account

The Mail application will usually be able to automatically configure your email accounts so that you can send and receive email in OS X. If it cannot automatically configure itself for your account(s), you may need to get some information from your email service provider by using the "cheat sheet" in this article.

Configuring Mail for your email account(s)

Tip: Click here for a PDF version of the cheat sheet that you can print.

Before you configure Mail

  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet (check your connection with a web browser, for example).
  • Use Software Update to install the latest available updates.
     

Mail can automatically get the email account settings for many email service providers

  1. Open Mail.
  2. Choose Add Account from the File menu. If this is the first time you've opened Mail, you will be automatically prompted to add an account.
  3. Enter your Full Name, email address, and password. See Mac 101: Mail article for more information.

Usually, your email account can be configured automatically for you. If you use an email account that Mail cannot configure automatically, continue with this article.

Tip: You can also use the Mail Setup Assistant to check for your email service providers settings. If the Mail Setup Assistant does not have settings for your email service provider, use the "cheat sheet" of questions below when you contact your email service provider.
 

Manually configuring Mail

Note: You should make note of your email settings--see the cheat sheet below. Contact your email service vendor and note all of the details needed to fill in your settings. During the setup process, you will need these details to complete the setup process. You can either print the sheet and write on it, or paste it into a text document and fill it in on your Mac. Keep the sheet for later reference in case you need it.

  1. Open Mail (click it on the Dock or open it from the Applications folder).
  2. If the "Welcome to Mail" assistant does not appear, choose Add Account from the File menu.
  3. Fill in the Full Name, Email address, and Password fields.

    Note
    : Your email account password will be stored in Keychain to allow you to automatically log in to your email account when you open Mail.
  4. Deselect "Automatically set up account" if it is enabled. Click Continue to proceed.
  5. Choose the proper Account Type.
  6. Give your account a useful description, such as "Anne's Gmail account" or "Juan's Yahoo! email account". It can be called whatever you want.
  7. Enter your Incoming Mail Server, User Name and Password. Click Continue to proceed.
  8. If prompted, enter your Incoming Mail Security settings. Click Continue to proceed.
  9. For Outgoing Mail Server, a useful description such as "Gmail Outgoing Mail Server" or "Yahoo! Outgoing Mail Server".
  10. Enter the Outgoing Mail Server details.
  11. If necessary, select "Use Authentication" and enter your User Name and Password. Click Continue to proceed.
  12. If prompted, enter your Outgoing Mail Security settings. Click Continue to proceed.
  13. Verify your settings in the Account Summary. Check "Take account online". Click "Create" to complete the process.

After completing these steps you should be able to send and receive email via this account. If you can't send or receive email, contact your ISP for assistance (even if you don't use your ISP's email service), or visit any online help or support websites they offer. Have your email settings on hand to inform the ISP support of the needs of your email service provider.
 

 

Email account settings "cheat sheet"

Click this link to display a PDF of the cheat sheet, which you can print. If you use the custom PDF, you can fill it in electronically on your Mac (then print it), or you can print it as is and fill it in by hand. Printing the sheet gives you a hard copy to refer to later. Print the sheet from Preview for best results.

Once all the questions are answered, you will have the email account settings information you need.  Choose Add Account from the File menu (if this is the first time you've opened Mail, you will be prompted to add an account). Enter your Full Name, email address, and password.

After Mail checks for your email service provider, it will present email account settings fields for you to enter the email account settings you noted.

Questions Answers Notes
Full name:   Your name as you would like it to appear on messages you send, such as Tom Clark.
My email address:                                @                        .        Such as tomclark@example.com.
My email provider:   The name of your email service provider such as Yahoo, Gmail, Comcast, or AOL.

 

Questions Answers Notes
Account type:
Choose one.
POP [     ]
IMAP [     ]
Exchange IMAP [     ]
Exchange 2007 EWS [     ] (see below)
Your provider will understand which Account type to select.
Description:   Used to title your inbox in Mail.
Such as "Tom's email"
Incoming mail server hostname:   Such as mail.example.com
Username:   Example: tomclark or tomclark@example.com
Password:   Used to protect your email account. See this article to choose a good password.
Incoming server port number:   Your provider will understand which port to select.
Incoming server authentication method:
Choose one.
Password [     ] MD5 [     ] NTLM [     ] Kerberos [     ] None [     ] Your provider will understand which authentication method to select.
Incoming mail server supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)? Yes [     ] No [     ] Your provider may call this Transport Layer Security (TLS).

 

Questions Answers Notes
Outgoing Mail Server:   Such as smtp.example.com
Outgoing server port:
Choose one.
25 [     ] 465 [     ] 587 [     ] Other: Your provider will understand which port to select.
The outgoing mail server supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Yes [     ] No [     ]  Your provider may call this Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Outgoing server authentication type:
Choose one
Password [     ] MD5 [     ] NTLM [     ] Kerberos [     ] None [     ] Your provider will understand which authentication method to select.
If "None", ask for the Internet Service Provider off-network outgoing (SMTP) mail server settings to use when you are connected to the Internet from outside your ISP; for example, a WiFi hotspot at your local coffee shop. Use the next chart to denote these settings.

 

Questions Answers Notes
Outgoing Mail Server:   Such as smtp.example.com
Outgoing server port:
Choose one
25 [     ] 465 [     ] 587 [     ] Other: Your provider will understand which port to select.
The outgoing mail server supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Yes [     ] No [     ] Your provider may call this Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Outgoing server authentication type:
Choose one.
Password [     ] MD5 [     ] NTLM [     ] Kerberos [     ]  

Microsoft Exchange 2007 (EWS)-specific questions

For Exchange 2007 (EWS), if auto configuration is not enabled on the server, or if you are not sure, you should ask or know the answers to these questions: 

  • What is my account name?
  • What is my password?
  • What is the Client Access Server (CAS) name? (Used for the incoming server field.)
  • Which ports are used for internal and external servers?
  • Is VPN network access required?

For information about using an Exchange 2007 account in Mail in Mac OS X v10.6, see this article.

Additional Information

Tip: See this article if you have issues sending or receiving email after you have entered your email account settings.

Removing an email account

You may want to remove an email account from Mail, for example if you no longer use the account.

Important: Removing an account will permanently delete its mailboxes, messages, notes, and to do items. If you want to keep those, be sure to copy them to an On My Mac mailbox before deleting the account.

Exchange and IMAP accounts store their mailboxes and messages on the server; deleting these account types in Mail will not permanently delete messages from the server. However, if you are not completely certain that your account is one of those types, be sure to copy the mailboxes and messages you want to keep into an On My Mac mailbox, or save individual messages manually by selecting them and choosing Save As from the File menu.

To remove an email account in Mail:

  1. Open Mail (click it on the Dock or open it from the Applications folder).
  2. From the Mail menu, choose Preferences..., or press Command-, (the Command and comma keys).
  3. Click the "Accounts" icon.
  4. Select the account you wish to remove.
  5. Click the "-" (minus) icon. You will be alerted that "The account's setup information, mailboxes, messages, notes, and to do's will be deleted permanently from your computer."
  6. If you are sure you want to remove the account and email messages from your computer, click "Remove" to complete this process.

 

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Last Modified: Jun 30, 2013
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