How to troubleshoot Apple (Mac) Mail

The goal of today’s article is to help you identify and fix potential problems you may have with setting up your email account with Apple Mail, macOS’s default email client.

You may be unable to access your email account due to many different reasons. Some of them are related to your internet connection or network configuration. Other issues may arise when you’re setting up your account with Apple Mail.

Here are a few things you might want to look at if you experience problems.

General connectivity problems

One of the reasons you may be unable to use your email account with Apple Mail is that you are experiencing connectivity issues. If you don’t have access to the internet, you don’t have access to your inbox.

Try loading a website and see if other apps connected to the internet work correctly.

DNS propagation

If you’ve recently switched to a different hosting provider and you’ve modified your DNS settings, the changes may not have propagated throughout the world.

The only thing you can do if the changes to your domain name’s DNS settings haven’t propagated yet is to wait. Domain name propagation is usually over after a couple of hours, though it can sometimes take a day or two.

Firewall configuration

Your firewall’s configuration may also be preventing Apple Mail from accessing the internet and connecting to your email account. The easiest way to find whether your firewall is blocking Apple Mail is to temporarily disable it and see if you can connect to your email account.

If the firewall does turn out to be the culprit, you need to figure out exactly how it’s stopping you from connecting to your email account. It may be blocking Apple Mail itself from connecting to the internet. If that’s the case, removing it from the firewall’s blacklist should solve the problem.

If it doesn’t, check out the firewall’s configuration and see whether any of the ports vital for accessing your email accounts are blocked. Depending on the way you configure your inbox, Apple Mail may use the following protocols and ports to send and receive emails:

  • SMTP (Encrypted) on port 465
  • SMTP (Unencrypted) on port 25 or 26
  • POP3 (Encrypted) on port 995
  • POP3 (Unencrypted) on port 110
  • IMAP (Encrypted) on port 993
  • IMAP (Unencrypted) on port 143

NOTE: It is highly recommended you use all email protocols through an encrypted connection.

Check your firewall’s configuration and make sure none of these ports are blocked.

Double-check your login credentials

If Apple Mail can’t connect to your email account, the problem may be a simple typo you’ve made while entering your username and password. Try logging in again, and be careful to enter the correct credentials.

Use Apple Mail’s Connection Doctor

Apple Mail has a built-in utility for checking the connections to your email accounts. It’s called Connection Doctor, and it’s available under the Window menu. If you’re struggling to connect to your email account, it may be able to identify the issue and help you resolve it.

Check your account’s configuration

You won’t be able to access your inbox and send messages unless you set it up correctly while creating your email account. Open the app’s settings and review your POP3/IMAP/SMTP host addresses. If you’re not sure what you need to enter there, you can either check your welcome email (available in the My Details > Email History section in your Client Area), or you can get in touch with our technical support team. Our experts are available 24/7.

Reset the connection to your email account

If you’re not sure whether Apple Mail’s inbox is up-to-date, you can always try checking it through webmail or another client and seeing whether anything’s missing. If there is, you can try resetting the connection to your email account by selecting the Take All Accounts Offline option from the Mailbox menu and then bringing them back online.

Reset the com.apple.mail.plist file

Users sometimes stop receiving new messages because of a corrupt system file called com.apple.mail.plist located in the Home/Library/Preferences directory. Moving the file to the desktop and setting up your email accounts again or simply restoring com.apple.mail.plist from a backup often solves the problem.

Delete offline cache

Deleting the offline cache often solves problems Apple Mail may have with synchronizing IMAP-connected accounts with the remote server. To purge your IMAP offline cache, go to /Users/your macOS username/Library/Mail/V2/IMAP-your email account/ and delete the .OfflineCache hidden folder.

Make sure Apple Mail finds your Sent folder on your IMAP account

Occasionally, when you use your email account through IMAP on Apple Mail, the app doesn’t copy your outgoing messages to your Sent folder. This may cause loss of communication and a host of other problems.

The problem stems from the fact that the IMAP root folder path isn’t set correctly, and Apple Mail is unable to locate the Sent folder. To fix this, click Accounts from the Mail menu, find your email account and click Advanced, and enter INBOX in the Path Prefix field. Be sure INBOX is written in all capital letters and click OK to save the changes.

The steps you see above should fix most of the common issues Apple Mail users may encounter with email accounts created and hosted with ScalaHosting. If they don’t, you can always get in touch with our technical support experts who will investigate the issue, fix it if it’s on our end, and point you in the right direction if it’s not.

Rado

Author

Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.

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