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Setting up email on your Mac

Christopher Breen | Feb. 8, 2013
If you're new to the Mac but something of an iOS veteran, this lesson will be a snap. And it should be, because Apple modeled Mountain Lion's Mail, Contacts & Calendars system preference on the setting of the same name found on today's iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

What's the incoming server address? (It will be something like

What's the outgoing server address? (It could also be, but it's more likely along the lines of

What security settings do I need? (Should SSL be turned on and what verification scheme should I use?)

Do you use unusual incoming and outgoing server ports? If so, what are they?

By the way, if you have the option to choose between a POP or IMAP account, go with IMAP. Without getting too technical about it, an IMAP account allows all your email to synchronize among the devices you use. For example, if you view your email on your iPhone and delete a message, when you next fire up Mail on your Mac, that message won't appear because you've dealt with it elsewhere. With a POP account, the message you deleted on your iPhone will likely appear on your Mac, where you'll have to delete it once again. The IMAP scheme is the default standard for all the major services--Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and AOL.

Once you have this information, see if the support person will hold the line while you configure the account. This will save you from having to call back and wait another hour on hold should the settings not take. Once everything is working, make a note of your settings so that you can reconfigure the account if something goes wrong in the future or if you want to set up another device with this service.

Of course, there's more. As I mentioned, this Add sheet presents options for dealing with messages, dates, and contacts. But those features go well beyond the basics that we want to cover at the moment. We'll dive into them when we eventually get to the Messages, Contacts, and Calendar applications.


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