Troubleshooting Mail

Use this article to troubleshoot iCloud Mail if you cannot access your mail, or if you cannot send or receive email messages with your iCloud email address.

Note: On your Mac, always make sure that you have the latest updates for OS X Lion or Mountain Lion installed before trying the additional iCloud Mail troubleshooting steps described in this article. New iCloud Mail accounts require OS X Lion 10.7.5 or OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2.

Cannot access iCloud Mail at iCloud.com

Make sure there are not any current issues listed for iCloud Mail in the System Status at the iCloud support site.

If you can’t access Mail via iCloud.com

  1. Make sure you are accessing iCloud.com with a supported browser.
  2. To make sure that Safari is up to date, choose Software Update from the Apple () menu and install all available Safari, security, and OS X updates. Instructions for updating other browsers should be available from the built-in or online help for those browsers.
  3. If your iCloud Mail issue occurs only when using a particular browser, try clearing that browser’s cache. For Safari 6 or later, choose Reset Safari from the Safari menu. Enable the option “Remove all website data”, then click Reset. For Safari 5 and earlier versions, choose Empty Cache from the Safari menu. Instructions for other browsers should be available from the built-in or online help for those browsers.
  4. Some Internet configurations can (inadvertently or purposely) prevent access to certain websites or services, such as iCloud Mail. If you’re having issues accessing your iCloud Mail from one location or Internet connection but not others, contact your Internet Service Provider or network administrator for assistance.

Cannot send mail in OS X Mail

The following alert message may appear when sending a message from your iCloud email address in OS X Mail:

“This message could not be delivered and will remain in your Outbox until it can be delivered. The reason for the failure is: An error occurred while delivering this message via the smtp server: [example server].”

If you receive this alert message or a similar alert, follow these steps:

  1. Open Mail.
  2. From the Mail menu, choose Preferences.
  3. In the Preferences window, click the Accounts tab, if it is not already selected.
  4. In the Accounts list, select your iCloud email address.
  5. Click the Account Information tab.
  6. In the pull-down menu next to the Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP), make sure smtp.mail.me.com is the selected server.
  7. Open the pull-down menu, and choose Edit SMTP Server List.
  8. Select smtp.mail.me.com in the server list.
  9. Verify your SMTP server settings with the following information:
    • Outgoing Mail Server:  smtp.mail.me.com
    • Port:  587 or 25   Note: Your Internet Service Providers (ISP) may block port 25. If this is the case, contact your ISP
    • Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Should be enabled
    • Authentication: Password
    • User Name: Your iCloud email address
    • Password: Your iCloud password

If you are attaching a large file

Message attachments cannot be larger than what is allowed by the recipient’s and your email service providers. The exact limit varies by email service provider.  You can try compressing the file before sending it. You can also try sending your email message without an attachment to see if that works.

Email message not received by a recipient

  • If an “Unknown address” or “Undelivered mail returned” message appears in your Inbox after you send a message:
    • Verify that the recipient’s email address is current and correct (look in your Sent messages to confirm).
  • If you are using OS X Mail, or accessing your iCloud Mail at iCloud.com/mail in Safari or a different supported web browser:
    • Verify that the message was sent. Check your Drafts, Sent, and Outbox mailboxes. If there is an unsent copy of the message in Drafts, try to send it again.
    • If the message appears in your Outbox, this indicates that you might be working offline or that the outgoing server is unavailable. Refer to the Cannot Send Mail section above.
  • Ask the recipient to check any Junk mail folders or mailboxes on their system. Perhaps your message was received but inadvertently filtered.
  • If your recipient still does not receive your mail, but your mail is being sent without any alerts or “Undelivered mail” messages, your mail might be blocked or filtered by the iCloud Mail servers or by the recipient’s mail server. The best way to determine if this is the cause is to contact iCloud Support directly and have your recipient contact his or her email administrator to find out if there is an issue that can be resolved.

If you can receive messages but not send mail

The issue could be due to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) blocking the protocol used to send email (SMTP) from across their network. To see if this is the case, follow these steps:

  1. While in OS X Mail, choose Connection Doctor from the Window menu. Wait until there are no spinning progress indicators (which will indicate testing is complete).
  2. In the bottom half of your Account list, double-click your affected SMTP email account (which will have a red dot in the status column). This will open your SMTP settings.
  3. Click the Advanced tab and make sure the option to “Use default ports (25, 465, 587) is enabled.
  4. If “Use default ports” is not enabled, enable it and click OK.

    If your issue persists, contact your ISP and ask them what their policy is on blocking SMTP traffic that transverses their network. Note: Your ISP may allow SMTP traffic to the email server on their network, so it is important to ask the ISP about SMTP traffic that transverses their network to an external mail service like iCloud. If your ISP has a policy of blocking SMTP, ask them how you can be exempt from SMTP blocking.

Cannot receive mail in OS X Mail

If you use OS X Mail, look at the name of your iCloud account on the left side of the main Mail window. If your iCloud account name is dim and has a lightning bolt next to it, your account is offline. To resolve this, make sure your computer is connected to the Internet. Then choose Go Online from the Mailbox menu.

If taking your iCloud account online doesn’t resolve the issue, follow these steps:

  1. From the Mail menu, choose Preferences.
  2. In the Preferences window, click the Accounts tab if it is not already selected.
  3. In the Accounts list, select your iCloud email address.
  4. Click the Account Information tab.
  5. Verify your SMTP server settings with the following information:
    • Incoming Mail Server: imap.mail.me.com
    • User Name: Your iCloud email address
    • Password: Your iCloud password
  6. Click the Advanced tab and verify the following additional settings:
    • Port: 993
    • Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Should be enabled
    • Authentication: Password

Issues sending or receiving mail on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Make sure you have Internet access:
    • Open Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
    • Make sure you can load a webpage such as www.apple.com.
  2. Verify you can receive email for your iCloud account at iCloud.com on your Mac or PC.
  3. Make sure that your iCloud email address is enabled:
    • From the Home screen, tap Settings > iCloud.
    • Tap your iCloud account.
    • Make sure the Mail slider is set to On.
  4. Ensure Push is enabled on your device:
    • From the Home screen, tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars > Fetch New Data. Make sure the Push slider is set to On.
  5. Ensure Push is enabled for your account:
    • From the device’s Home screen, tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars > Fetch New Data > Advanced
    • Tap your iCloud account.
    • Make sure Push is enabled in “Select schedule.”
  6. Turn your device off and on.
  7. If the issue persists, turn off all the sliders mentioned in Steps 3-5. Then, turn them back on again and try again.
  8. If you have multiple iCloud accounts set up on your device, Push will only work for one account. If you want to switch which account uses Push, see this article.
  9. Check the System Status at the iCloud support site to be sure there are not larger issues affecting the iCloud service.
  10. If the above steps do not help, delete the iCloud account from your device:
    • From the Home screen, tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars.
    • Tap your iCloud account.
    • Tap Delete Account. If syncing Contacts, Calendar, or Bookmark data with iCloud, choose to keep the data on your device when prompted.
    • On the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars screen, tap Add Account > iCloud, and set up your account again. If you are syncing data with iCloud on your device, choose to Merge data on your device when prompted to do so after adding your account.

Issues setting up Mail with iCloud Control Panel on Windows

If you are using an Apple ID that was not previously a MobileMe account, you have the option of creating an email address (ending with @me.com) with which to receive mail using your iCloud account. If you have not yet set up this email account, you will notice the Mail entry within the iCloud Control Panel will be grayed out if the email address was not set up before you signed in to your iCloud account in the iCloud Control Panel. In order to avoid this behavior:

  1. If possible, set up your new @me.com email address with iCloud using a Mac (OS X Lion v10.7.2 or later) or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (iOS 5 or later). You can then sign in to the iCloud Control Panel on your Windows PC.
  2. If you have already signed in to the iCloud Control Panel without having set up your email address using one of the above devices, close and reopen the iCloud Control Panel twice in order to have the Mail entry available for enabling.
  3. If closing and reopening the iCloud Control Panel twice does not allow you to enable Mail, sign out and back in to the iCloud Control Panel. Once finished, you should be able to enable Mail.