How do I enter a changed password in the macOS Apple Mail app?

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When you change the password for your email account in our “My Account” control panel, you need to update it in two places in the Apple Mail app.

(This page describes the standard IMAP connection type. If you’re instead using the POP3 type, see updating an Apple Mail password for POP3 connections instead.)

For the latest version of Apple Mail with an IMAP connection, do this:

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 either Preferences or Settings depending on the version:

Mail > Preferences

The preferences window will appear.

3. Choose the “Server Settings” screen.

Navigate to the “Server Settings” 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 Server Settings.

4. Enter your password twice.

The window should look like this:

Apple Mail settings

Note that the password appears in two different places, once under “Incoming Mail Server” and again under “Outgoing Mail Server”. You need to update them both to be the same.

After doing that, click the red close button in the upper-left corner of the Accounts window to save the changes.

Once you’ve entered the new password, you should also quit and reopen the Mail program to make sure it’s using the new password.

Always quit and reopen the Mail program.

Although it doesn’t seem that it should be necessary, we've seen several cases where the Mail program keeps sending the wrong password until you actually quit and re-open it.

If you’re using an older version of Apple Mail, such as the version included with Mac OS X “El Capitan” or “Yosemite”

Older versions have the second password in a different location. To update an old version of the Mail app with your new email password:

  • Start Mail
  • Open the Mail menu and choose Preferences...
  • Make sure Accounts is selected along the top of the “Accounts” window
  • Select your email account in the list on the left-hand side of the window
  • Make sure the Account Information tab is selected at the top of the main area of the window
  • Locate the password field. Erase the current value in the password field, then carefully type in your new password.

Next, you need to change the password in the outgoing mail server settings:

  • Find the “Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP)” field and click it to get a pop-up menu
  • Choose Edit SMTP Server List... (or similar) from the bottom of the pop-up menu
  • Choose the server account used by your email account
  • Choose the Advanced tab
  • Locate the password field. Erase the current value in the password field, then carefully type in your new password.
  • Click OK to close the outgoing server settings window
  • Close the “Accounts” window

Apple Mail should ask you whether you want to save the changes; be sure to tell it to do so.

After having successfully changed the password in both places, your email should work correctly. Send yourself a simple message to test both the sending and receiving capabilities.