How do I set up Apple Mail to read my email?

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This page explains how to automatically set up the Apple Mail program to send and receive email for a mailbox that you’ve created using an IMAP connection.

(If you have trouble with this automatic method, we also have instructions for manually configuring Apple Mail, although it takes longer.)

Before you continue, you will need to enter your email address (the address you want to set up in Mail) in the yellow box at the top of this page. Entering your email address ensures the correct profile is generated for your account.

Automatically configuring Apple Mail using a profile

The easiest way to configure Apple Mail is to add a new “profile” for your address.

After you enter your email address in the box above, this page will show you a link to download a file to your computer.

Open that file, and your Mac will show you this notification if you’re using macOS Big Sur or later (see below for earlier versions of macOS):

Profile notification

Open System Settings by choosing System Settings from the Apple menu (this is called System Preferences on older versions of macOS):

System Settings

Then search for Profiles and click it in the left column:

Profiles in macOS Ventura and later

When you double-click the “” profile, you’ll see an Install button:

Install profile

Click the Install button and you will be asked to enter your full name (the name that others see your mail as being “From”, such as “Joan of Arc” or “Philip J. Fry”) and your email password (the password is not optional, even if the screen says it is):

Type your password

After typing those, click the Install button to add the profile, then close the System Settings window.

After adding the profile, start the Mail program. You should be able to send and receive mail for (try sending yourself a test message to make sure it works).

Older versions of macOS

If you’re using a version of macOS from before Big Sur, you will instead see this window when you open the mobileconfig file you downloaded:

Apple Mail Profile 1

Click Continue. Your Mac will then ask you to enter your full name and your email password:

Apple Mail Profile 3

After adding the profile, you can start the Mail program.

Removing the profile

If you ever want to remove this profile from your Mac in the future, you can do so in System Settings (search for “Profile” again).


If you’re having trouble with Apple Mail, try restarting your computer as a first step. If that doesn’t work, the Mail Connection Doctor can provide useful information that will help you (or us) troubleshoot the problem.

Why does the Mail program say “Profile installation failed: This account already exists”?

You can find the cause of this message by choosing Internet Accounts from the Mail program’s Mail menu.

The address may be listed in there as a separate mail address, in which case you can simply delete that item (assuming you want to start again).

If it’s not listed separately, it’s probably listed as part of the “iCloud” settings, where your iCloud account uses the same email address that you’re trying to set up:

Internet Accounts

Unchecking the “Mail” box in the “iCloud” section will solve that.