Manually configuring an iCloud email account

Christopher Breen
1 June, 2012
View more articles fromthe author

Reader Matthew Hansman and his iCloud account need to come to a more mutually satisfactory understanding. He writes:

 My .mac address works perfectly well on my iPhone and iPad but doesn’t in Mail on my MacBook Pro – I continue to get login errors when I try to use it. I’ve entered my password time and again (even tried some older passwords) with no luck. Is there a way to reset the account so it works?

You could, of course, start over. To do that, launch Mail, open its preferences, click the Accounts tab, select your iCloud/MobileMe account and click the Minus (–) button below the list of accounts. Then click the Plus (+) button and in the Add Account sheet that appears, enter your iCloud email address and password and click Continue. Mail will then set up your account and all should be well.

Unless it isn’t.

Some people have had some difficulty making older MobileMe accounts work with iCloud. And yet when they try to manually set up such an account, they’re thwarted because there doesn’t appear to be a way to fiddle with iCloud’s IMAP and SMTP settings. But you can if you know the secret.

And here’s that secret. While in Mail’s Accounts setting, click on the Plus button and enter your iCloud address and password as you normally would. The button at the bottom will read Create. Hold down the Option key and that button changes to read Continue. Click on Continue. Instead of your account being set up for you, you can now set it up manually.

Holding down the Option key allows you to manually configure an iCloud email account

In the next sheet (which reads Incoming Mail Server), choose IMAP from the Account Type pop-up menu. Leave iCloud in the description field. In the Incoming Mail Server field enter Your user name and password should be filled in automatically. If the button at the bottom of the sheet doesn’t read Continue, hold down the Option key and it will. Click that button.

In the next sheet (Incoming Mail Security) enable the Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) option and choose Password from the Authentication pop-up menu. Click Continue (again, holding down the Option key if the button reads Create).

In the Outgoing Mail Server sheet that now appears, enter iCloud in the Description field, enter in the Outgoing Mail Server field, enable the Use Authentication option and enter your complete email address in the User Name field and password in the Password field. Click Continue.

The final sheet will show you the account configuration. Look it over to make sure everything is entered correctly. (If it isn’t, use the Go Back button to do exactly that and make corrections where needed.) Now click Create to create your account. Your email account should now work as expected.


One Comment

One person was compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Geoffrey Cutts says:

    Wonder if Christopher has an answer to syncing iCal on the iMac with iCloud? I get messages that I am not connected to the Internet, or that the iMac cannot find a server with secure communication ……. Checking the forums, I find many people with similar problems and few suggestions – have tried all those to no avail. Have deleted accounts and tried to create new ones.
    If I try to sync my iMac I am asked if I wish to merge with iCloud – if I agree, it says I am not connected to the Internet – but it wipes out all the events on the iMac calendar!
    iPhone and iPad sync to each other and iCloud, including Contacts, but iMac is unable to sync with either of them. I now have to run two systems: one just for my desktop, and one for the iPhone and iPad.
    I have 10.7.4 and problem seems to have occurred fairly recently, perhaps with last two updates?

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments friendly on the topic.

Contact us