How do I verify the settings for an IMAP account in Apple Mail if I’m using Mac OS X “El Capitan” or older?

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This page is obsolete: it contains instructions for an old version of the Mac OS X "Mail" program that is included with Mac OS X “El Capitan” and older. If you’re using macOS “Sierra” (2016) or later, you should read the updated “Verifying Apple Mail IMAP Settings” page instead.

If you’ve already set up an IMAP email account in the Apple Mail program and you want to make sure the settings are correct, this page explains how to do so.

If you have set up a POP email account, then please see “Verifying Apple Mail POP Settings” instead.

1. Start the Mail program.

If the Mail program isn’t already running, start it now.

2. Open the “Preferences” window.

Using the menu bar at the top of the screen, click Mail, then Preferences:

Mail > Preferences

The preferences window will appear.

3. Choose the “Account Information” screen.

Navigate to the “Account Information” screen. To do this:

  • Click Accounts (the blue "@" sign) along the top of the window if necessary.
  • Click the account in the left “Accounts” column if necessary.
  • Click Account Information if necessary.

4. Verify the basic account settings.

The window should look like this:

Verify account screenshot

Although the “Description”, “Full Name”, “Password” and “Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)” may be different, everything else should be as shown above. In particular, these must be exactly right:

Email Address:your email address
Incoming Mail
User Name:your email address (all lowercase)
TLS Certificate:None

(If your window also has an “Alias” section, it doesn’t matter what those settings are.)

5. Verify the incoming advanced settings.

Now you should verify your outgoing port number. Click the "Advanced" tab.

The window should look like this:

Advanced settings

In particular, check these:


Your “IMAP Path Prefix” may be blank; if so, that’s also okay.

You should usually make sure the Use SSL box is checked. Although this is not necessary to make your email work, it adds security. We also recommend that you do not check “Automatically detect and maintain account settings”, as it can cause Apple Mail to modify the settings.

6. Open the outgoing “Server Settings” window.

Go back to the "Account Information" tab. Click the menu that appears to the right of the words “Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)” and choose Edit SMTP Server List..., like this:

Edit SMTP Server List menu

(The “Edit SMTP Server List” option is labeled “Edit Server List” in some versions of Apple Mail. Also, the picture above shows the checked option as being labeled “”, but don’t worry if it’s labeled something different: what matters is that you choose the option to edit the server list.)

The outgoing mail settings window will appear.

7. Verify the outgoing “Account Information”.

Verify that the “Account Information” tab looks like this:

Outgoing settings

In particular, check these:

TLS Certificate:None

(The “Description” doesn’t matter, but it’s helpful to use your email address to keep things clear if you use multiple outgoing mail servers.)

8. Verify the outgoing “Advanced Settings”.

Click the “Advanced” tab and verify that the window looks like this:

Advanced outgoing settings

In particular, check these:

User Name:your email address (all lowercase)
Password:Your email password

As with the incoming settings, we recommend checking the Use SSL box and not checking “Automatically detect and maintain account settings”.

9. Close both settings windows.

If everything looks okay, click OK to close the outgoing mail server settings window, then click the red close button in the upper-left corner of the Accounts window.

Verifying the “Sent” and “Trash” folders

There’s an additional step needed if you want to keep Mail folders in sync with other programs or devices that might connect to the mailbox. Our Apple Mail Folders page has more information.


If Apple Mail does not try to send or receive email for your account after verifying these settings, it may be because the account is still “offline”. We have simple instructions on how to take your accounts online.

If you still have trouble, try restarting your computer. If that doesn’t work, the Mail Connection Doctor can provide useful information that will help you (or us) troubleshoot the problem.

In particular, if you can click Show Detail in the Connection Doctor window, then copy-and-paste the entire technical detail to us, we can usually use that to figure out exactly what’s wrong.