An Explanation Of Mac Mail Application Usage

Set Up An E-Mail Account - IMAP - POP3 - Servers

This section will teach you how to set up an e-mail account, using an existing e-mail address, for use with the mac Mail application (e-mail client). The category in general will teach you how to use E-Mail with the Mac Mail - Forward, Reply, Attcach Files and much more.

Mail has the job of sending and receiving your e-mail by communicating with the mail servers (e-mail computers) belonging to the broadband company you signed up with, such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk or Virgin. That broadband company, also known as an ISP (Internet Service Provider), has an Incoming/Receiving Mail Server (e-mail computer) that is responsible for receiving your e-mail and storing it, until that e-mail is requested by Mail or a web browser such as Safari (via WebMail - online e-mail), and an Outgoing/Sending Mail Server (e-mail computer) that is responsible for any e-mail you send using Mail or a web browser such as Safari.

The diagram below (top-left) shows that you should start Mail, Write (compose) an e-mail and then instruct Mail to SEND that e-mail to your ISP's computer. Mail communicates with your ISP's computer and gives it your e-mail account details along with the e-mail itself. Your ISP's computer, which monitors all extended internet connections coming from Safari (Web Mail) as well as from Mail and so on, then has to verify (authorise) the received e-mail account's username & password and check the e-mail for malware (i.e. viruses) before it can then forward that e-mail to the recipient's ISP computer. An example of setting up an e-mail account is given below.

A diagram showing how an e-mail client (application) and e-mail server interact

Assuming the verification (authorization) all went well, when the recipient's ISP computer receives the e-mail it goes through a similar verification (authorization) process before putting the e-mail into the recipient's INBOX. So at this point, assuming all went well, your e-mail is now on your recipient's ISP computer waiting to be downloaded (received) by them.

When your recipient wants to receive their e-mail they have to launch Mail first, on their computer (shown above in blue, Recipient Starts Their Mail), and then tell Mail to RECEIVE (GET) ALL e-mail. What happens next is that their ISP's computer receives the RECEIVE ALL E-MAIL request from Mail, verifies (authorizes) the request (by checking their e-mail account details) and then sends (downloads) them their e-mails if all went well with the verification (authorization process). When they have received all of their e-mails they should have the e-mail you sent amongst them.


An e-mail is a data file that must contain at least one E-Mail Address (i.e., a Subject (i.e. Photos Attached) and a Message (in the form of a small note or a letter). An e-mail can also contain one or more Files (i.e. Photographs and Documents) which are known as Attachments (or Attached Files), but don't worry too much about this as e-mail Attachments, Sending, Receiving, Forwarding and so on will be explained in later sections.


An e-mail account is comprised of an E-mail Address, Password and Mail Server Settings amongst other things. It is these e-mail account, "login and authorise", details that an e-mail client (application) such as Mail needs programmed into it before it can send out and receive your e-mails.

You normally get a free e-mail account when you sign up with a broadband company - ISP (Internet Service Provider) - such as BT or TalkTalk. As an example; When I signed up with TalkTalk they asked me to create a free e-mail account. So I created the e-mail address and gave it a password. If I now want to check for any new e-mail that has come through on that e-mail account (i.e. someone has sent an e-mail) I can either login into my e-mail account via the TalkTalk website (using the Safari web browser to access my TalkTalk web mail) or I can set up the e-mail account using the Mail application.

The Benefits Of USING MAIL

One major benefit the Mail application has over using a web browser is that it can be programmed with many different e-mail accounts from many different broadband companies. All you need to know when setting up an e-mail account with Mail is your e-mail account's login details as mentioned above. Another benefit of using Mail is that it doesn't inherit, and therefore suffer from, the kind of problems associated with a web browser (such as slow speed, pictures not showing correctly and so on). Mail is also faster at sending and receiving e-mails and can view e-mails offline (without an internet connection) once they are inside Mail. Finally, Mail allows you to import/export e-mails (e-mail addresses and messages) and is generally better (feature-wise) than a broadband company's website based e-mail client (known as: Web Mail).


Before launching Mail make sure you have the Main Internet (Broadband) Connection open, as described in The Internet section. Mail expects the main internet connection to be open (live) so that it can use an Extended Internet Connection (also explained in The Internet section) to communicate directly with your ISP's computer. Therefore, there is no need to have Safari open - Safari, which uses its own extended internet connection to download/upload files and web pages, has nothing to do with Mail whatsoever. Failing to have the main internet connection open before launching Mail might result in errors and/or the Dial-Up requester appearing.

To launch Mail either click on its docked icon, if it's on the dock of course, or double click on its application icon within the APPLICATIONS folder.

Fig 1.0  Click on the docked icon called MAIL to launch the e-mail client (application) called Mail

Fig 1.1  Double click on the application icon to launch the e-mail client (application) called Mail

Once the e-mail client (application) called MAIL has launched (Fig 1.2) you then need to click on its MAIL menu and select the PREFERENCES menu-item (Fig 1.3) in order to begin the e-mail account set up (creation) process.

Fig 1.2  This is the e-mail client (application) called MAIL - It allows you to send and receive e-mails.

At this point it's worth noting that MAIL might already have an e-mail account in use, such as an iCloud e-mail account. This could of been set up for you during the Apple Mac computer installation process, by an Apple Store worker, Shopkeeper or piece of Installation Software for example. If you don't have an iCloud e-mail account set up and in use, don't worry because it can be set up at any time. In this example I have my iCloud e-mail account set up and in use, hence the MobileMe (iCloud) folders such as INBOX, SENT, JUNK and so on.

Fig 1.3  Click on the MAIL menu and select its PREFERENCES menu-item to continue

After clicking on the PREFERENCES menu-item the MAIL Preferences (settings) window will appear (Fig 1.4) and more precisely its GENERAL preferences, which include preferences that can be used by other e-mail clients (applications) such as Mozilla Thunderbird. However, ignoring the GENERAL preferences, you now need to click on the ACCOUNTS button in order to set up a brand new e-mail account.

Fig 1.4  Click on the ACCOUNTS button to continue

Fig 1.5  The ACCOUNTS Preferences - Click on the + (plus) button to continue

As you can see from the above; the ACCOUNTS Preferences window displays detailed information about an e-mail account's settings, such as its Incoming (Receiving) and Outgoing (Sending) Mail Servers, E-mail Address, and Password. In this example because you are creating a new e-mail account you need to click on the + (plus) button to proceed (above). Doing so will then bring you to the ADD ACCOUNT window whereby you need to fill in the FULL NAME, E-MAIL ADDRESS and PASSWORD edit boxes before clicking on the CONTINUE button.

Fig 1.6  Fill in the FULL NAME, E-MAIL ADDRESS and PASSWORD edit boxes and then click on the CONTINUE button

In this example I am setting up (creating) the e-mail account associated with my Click Wise Computer Services business, but you can use the same creation process to set up your business e-mail account, BT e-mail account or GMail e-mail account for example. I have typed John Cairns into the FULL NAME edit box, into the E-MAIL ADDRESS edit box (as it belongs to the e-mail account I am currently setting up) and the password belonging to the e-mail address into the PASSWORD edit box.

The FULL NAME acts as your Display Name. The name people see when they receive an e-mail from you. This could be a Business Name, Personal Name, Nickname or whatever. I could use ClickWise, Computer Repair Services or John Cairns for example whereas if you were called David Jones you could use DJ Business LTD, Website Name or David Jones for example. Obviously you want to use something that is recognisable and not something that comes across as a Junk Mail name for example.

It is important to stress here that the password needs to be the password belonging to the e-mail account you are currently setting up. It is NOT your computer's login password, NOT your online banking's password and NOT a completely new password. It IS the password belonging to your e-mail account's e-mail address.

Mail Server Settings - DOMAIN NAMES

Clicking on the CONTINUE button prompts Mail to check its 'Database of Mail Servers' in order to find the Mail Server Settings associated with the domain name of the e-mail address you just entered (i.e., or So in this example it will try and find the incoming and outgoing mail server settings for the domain name Ignore the technicals if you want! and just watch the small progress-gauge spinning around instead - Searching for mail servers for the specified email address...

Fig 1.7  Mail is now searching for Mail Server settings associated with the domain name -

To put the just said into reality. If I had used the e-mail address or the Mail application would know how to automatically set up the Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server settings for those broadband companies. In other words: Mail would already have their common mail server settings in its database. In my case Mail does not know about the mail server settings associated with the domain name - - simply because it comes from a private web hosting company and not a public broadband company. This means I will need to manually set up (enter) its mail server details, later.

If you are in a similar scenario to me whereby you have a privately hosted website with uncommon mail servers you too will see the following message appear when Mail has finished searching for your mail server details. Simply click on its CONNECT button to continue - Only click on the CONNECT button if you absolutely trust, and know of, the listed domain name. In other words, check its spelling and so on.

Fig 1.8  Click on the CONNECT button to trust the listed domain name and its unverified/invalid certificates.

Once you have CONNECTed you will be prompted to manually enter the listed domain name's Incoming Mail Server details, if they were not automatically found and inserted by the Mail application. The screenshot below shows what Mail looks like when no mail server details were found and inserted.

Fig 1.9  No mail server details were found or inserted for the domain name

Before entering your Incoming Mail Server setting you must first take care of the very important ACCOUNT TYPE setting (drop-down menu) which either states IMAP or POP. It is basically asking you how you would like your e-mails downloaded. In this example I will leave it selected on POP (also known as: POP3).


IMAP - If you select IMAP from the ACCOUNT TYPE drop-down menu it means your e-mails will be left on your isp's (internet service provider's / broadband company's) server (e-mail computer). Only e-mail headings (titles) will be downloaded and viewable from within the Mail application. So if you want to read the message belonging to a certain e-mail you will have to click on its viewable heading first (i.e. "Hi John, Its Only Me!") before its message is then downloaded off your isp's server and viewable within Mail. In other words, you cannot see the e-mail's message until it has been downloaded; and if you broadband connection is dead the message cannot be downloaded anyway of course.

The advantage of IMAP is that it only downloads the e-mail messages you want to read and therefore saves bandwidth by not downloading all of your e-mail headings and their messages at once. IMAP also keeps a copy of your e-mails on the server by default.

POP - POP is the total opposite of IMAP. It usually downloads all of your e-mails (headings and messages) at once so you have a hard-copy of all of them on your computer. The advantage of POP is that because it leaves the original copy of all your e-mails on your isp's mail server (computer) you can also receive a hard-copy of those original e-mails on another device such as another computer or iPad. This is great for e-mail backup (import / export) purposes. If the broadband connection dies or your private website 'goes down' you can still view the downloaded (hard-copy) e-mails.....years later.

The rest of the Incoming Mail Server details are quite straight forward, once you know what they are! Simply fill in the relevant edit boxes and then click on the CONTINUE button to proceed.


The Description setting is optional and only serves the purpose of naming your incoming mail server settings (i.e. My Incoming Mail). For this example you can just ignore it.


As explained above; In this example I will be using for the Incoming Mail Server setting. If I were setting up an e-mail account whose e-mail address was then I would use instead. Note: Some broadband companies use variants such as or, so always check with your broadband company or web hosting company if you are not 100% sure about your mail server settings in general.


The User Name setting might be your user name only (i.e. john) or your user name with domain name (i.e. the whole e-mail address - It really does depend on how your broadband company or web hosting company want you to be authorised for this e-mail account. In this example the Mail application has incorrectly opted to use john as the user name (Fig 1.9 above) when it fact it should be (below).

The user name (also used as an Account Name with other mail clients, such as: Mozilla Thunderbird) isn't just an e-mail address or user name per se; With the password it is also used to verify (authorise) this e-mail account when sending out and receiving e-mail. If your outgoing mail server details (explained below) are incorrect for example when sending out e-mail you will receive an error message stating so.


The Password setting will already be filled in from Fig 1.6 above (when you clicked on the + (plus) button and filled in the initial e-mail account details). As said, this is the password belonging to this e-mail account's e-mail address only. Once you have entered all of the required Incoming Mail Server details click on the CONTINUE button to proceed.

Fig 1.10  When you have entered all of the required Incoming Mail Server details click on the CONTINUE button

After the incoming mail server settings come the Outgoing Mail Server settings. These are the settings that allow your sent e-mail to be authorised and therefore sent to your friends and so on.


The actual OUTGOING MAIL SERVER setting might use the same setting as your Incoming Mail Server setting, but this will depend on your broadband company or web hosting company. They might use for both their incoming and outgoing mail server settings, but then again they might use for the incoming mail server setting and for the outgoing mail server setting. Sometimes pop3 is used in place of pop, just as mail is used instead of pop and smtp. In my case I use for both the incoming and outgoing mail server settings.

Fig 1.11  The Outgoing Mail Server settings are used for authorising mail to be sent out

At the end of the day both the incoming and outgoing mail server settings are IP Addresses (i.e., but instead of putting their e-mail server (e-mail computer) ip addresses into the respective MAIL SERVER setting edit boxes you simply put their English/Human worded setting (i.e. That makes it easier for humans to read. The reason I mention this is because in rare occasions a broadband company may ask you to enter their mail server settings as IP Addresses, perhaps because one of their English/Human setting (i.e. is temporarily out-of-order or malfunctioning.


The USE ONLY THIS SERVER setting is ticked by default (above). It refers to only using the Outgoing Mail Server currently selected in the OUTGOING MAIL SERVER drop-down menu which, in the example below, will be So at this point you would select an outgoing mail server from the OUTGOING MAIL SERVER drop-down menu or type a new one into the OUTGOING MAIL SERVER edit box.

Fig 1.12  Select an Outgoing Mail Server or type a new Outgoing Mail Server setting into the edit box


The USE AUTHENTICATION settings are another set of settings that depend on your broadband company or web hosting company in terms of whether or not they should be used. In my case they are not needed, but if your broadband company or web hosting company need them in order to verify (authorise) the e-mail you send out then you may need to ask them for the USER NAME & PASSWORD details. When you have filled in the Outgoing Mail Server details click on the CONTINUE button to proceed.

Fig 1.13  Fill in your Outgoing Mail Server details and then click on the CONTINUE button

If you have previously set up and deleted the e-mail account you are currently setting up, Mail might have already filled in the USER NAME & PASSWORD for you; in which case they might be faded out, but will become active when you put a tick next to the USE AUTHENTICATION setting. In the above example I have since ticked the USE AUTHENTICATION setting in order to delete the USER NAME & PASSWORD settings before then unticking the USE AUTHENTICATION setting.

Clicking on the CONTINUE button results in a summary of both your Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server details. If you know them to be correct click on the CREATE button to continue to the next step.

Fig 1.14  Verify your Incoming and Outgoing Mail Server details before clicking on the CREATE button

The TAKE ACCOUNT ONLINE setting, which is ticked by default, just means: "allow Mail to use this e-mail account when sending and receiving e-mail". In other words, it acts as an Online / Offline switch - when it's unticked (offline) you cannot use the e-mail account to send out or receive e-mail. So always make sure it is ticked (online).

After clicking on the CREATE button the e-mail account is ready for use, provided all the details where entered correctly; as specified by your broadband company or web hosting company.

Fig 1.15  A summary of the e-mail account - It is now ready to be tested.

At this point Mail will try and retrieve (receive) any e-mails that are already on your broadband company's or web hosting company's e-mail server (not shown here). If you definitely know there are e-mails stored on their server you will simply have to wait for them to arrive. If you do not see them after 10 Minutes or so you should try and send yourself a test e-mail (not shown here).


If you have any problems with receiving e-mail and/or sending out e-mail you might want to go back to the e-mail account's settings to alter them or check them over. This is done by selecting the new e-mail account from within the ACCOUNTS Tab of Mail Preferences (Fig 1.15 above). To change the OUTGOING MAIL SERVER setting for example you would click on its drop-down menu (Fig 1.16 below) and either select another mail server, if another one is available of course, or click on its EDIT SMTP SERVER LIST.

Fig 1.16  Click on the EDIT SMTP SERVER LIST drop-down menu-item to change the Outgoing Mail Server details

To add another Outgoing Mail Server to the list you would click on the PLUS (ADD) button. And if you want an existing mail server to use a different, custom, port (socket) you would select the USE CUSTOM PORT radio (circle) button and then enter a port number inside the CUSTOM PORT edit box.

IMAP and POP ports are used for Incoming/Receiving e-mail and a SMTP port is used for Outgoing/Sending e-mail. These ports are monitored by security softwares for example in order to protect your incoming and outgoing e-mail. Some companies insist on you using a specific port.

Fig 1.17  You can either edit the Outgoing Mail Server settings or ADD a new mail server

As well as trouble-shooting mail server problems with regards to not be able to send and/or receive e-mails, you might also want to change general settings. If you click on the MAILBOXES Tab for example you can state when Junk Mail and Sent Mail is deleted.

Fig 1.18  You can change the time frame of when Junk Mail and Sent Mail are deleted

Clicking on the ADVANCED Tab allows you to untick the setting called REMOVE COPY FROM SERVER AFTER RETREIVING A MESSAGE. This setting is very important because when it's ticked it means Mail will instruct your broadband company's or web hosting company's mail server (e-mail computer) to delete its original copies of your e-mails once they have been retrieved (received) by Mail. Unfortunately this setting is normally ticked by default. If you want to be able to receive the same e-mails from multiple devices (i.e. your PC, iPad and Mobile Phone) you need to keep this setting unticked.

Fig 1.19  Untick the REMOVE COPY...... setting if you want to receive the same e-mail from multiple devices

When you have finished making changes to your e-mail account settings click on another tab to initiated the Save Changes message requester and then click on its SAVE button to actually apply those changes.

Fig 1.20  Click on the SAVE button to apply any changes you have made to these e-mail account settings

The above is how you create a MAIL E-mail Account for an e-mail address that was created (set up) using a private web hosting company or broadband company. You can follow the above steps if you need to create a MAIL E-mail Account for your public (commercial) GMail, Yahoo or Hotmail e-mail address for example but in those cases you might not need to enter their Mail Server details simply because Mail should know of them and therefore automatically set them up for you.

Note: After creating the above e-mail account I have since changed its Account Information >> Description from Click-Wise to ClickWiseCS. Furthermore, I am now using my new iCloud e-mail account since the death of the MobileMe service - This means I have changed the MobileMe Account Information >> Description from MobileMe to iCloud and have also changed its preferred e-mail from to These changes will be noticed in further e-mail examples within this e-mail category, but in no way change what has been explained and exampled above in terms of creating an e-mail account - You still do exactly as exampled above to create an e-mail account.