How do I set up a new email account in Apple Mail?

If the honeymoon period between you and your computer ended the second it asked you for the name of your incoming mail server, don’t worry. Most of the information you need to set up your email is easy to come by – if you’re setting up an email account with your internet provider (;; or something similar), they probably sent you all the details you need as soon as they set up your address. You can do this! We believe in you!

1. Open up Apple Mail by clicking the stamp icon in your dock. From the menu at the top of your screen, select Mail > Preferences.

2. In the pop up menu, click Accounts.

3. Click the plus symbol in the bottom left of the window.

4. The Add Account Wizard will now appear. This is not as exciting as it sounds.

5. In the Full Name field, enter the name you want people to see when they receive emails from you. In the Email Address and Password fields, enter the address and password of the account you want to add. Click continue.

6. In an ideal world, the Wizard will now set everything up for you automatically and you’ll be good to go. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll have to enter your details manually. Sigh.

Account Type – this tells your computer how to connect to your email account to retrieve mail. There are three main types of account:

– POP accounts – emails are copied from the mail server on to your computer, so there’s only one copy of each email in existence (if you’re dealing with important mail on a POP account, make sure you back up your messages using Time Machine – see below).

– IMAP accounts – emails are stored on a central email server, and your computer caches them.┬áIf something were to happen to your computer, the emails would still be stored on the email server.

– Exchange accounts – a Microsoft solution that you generally find in corporate environments. You should speak to your IT team to get the details for your company’s Exchange system.

Description – this is just a name for the incoming mail server. You can call it anything you like.

Incoming mail server – this is specific to your email provider and should be given to you by them. Generally it’ll look something like or

Username and Password – the username and password for the email account you want to add.
Once you’ve filled in all the fields, select continue.

7. You’ll be asked if you want to use SSL to encrypt your email. Generally, you’re safe to untick this, but you may want to use it if you’re handling sensitive information (and your email client supports it).

8. Next you need to repeat the process for your outgoing mail server.

Description – is just the name of this server.

Outgoing Mail Server – again, this is specific to your email provider and given by them. Generally it’ll look something like

Use Authentication – virtually all outgoing servers will require authentication. Tick this box and enter your username and password. Fill ’em all in and click continue.

9. You’ll be shown a summary of your account details. If everything’s correct, click create account. Done!


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