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Knowledgebase: Mac Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting sending & receiving email messages (OS X Lion, Mac OS X v10.6)
Posted by UCS IT Support 4 on 27 March 2012 01:07 PM
Mail: Troubleshooting sending & receiving email messages (OS X Lion, Mac OS X v10.6)
Products Affected
Mac OS X 10.6, Mail, OS X Lion

Learn how to troubleshoot if Mail has issues sending or receiving email messages. Use this article to determine which part of the email "ecosystem" is the cause of the email issue, then attempt to resolve it.

Here are the four parts of the email process that make up the email "ecosystem":

The email message has to be addressed properly, with content that is allowed by the email service provider for both sender and receiver.
Mail needs the correct email account settings for the email service provider.
A working Internet connection that allows Mail to talk to the incoming and outgoing email servers of the email service provider.
The email service provider's email servers must be up and running. Also, the email account must not be deactivated, and the email serivce provider must accept the email account name and password.
Note: Your Internet service provider, such as Comcast, RoadRunner, AOL, and so forth, may not be the same as your email service provider, such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, Apple's MobileMe, or others.

First confirm these three things with your email service provider (ESP)

Contact your ESP's support staff (or visit the ESP's support website), then confirm the following:

The ESP's email servers are up and running.
The email account password you are using is correct, and it is being accepted.
That your email account is capable of sending and receiving email messages; it has not been deactivated.
Tip: If you see a dialog that states "Enter Password for Account 'name'", this indicates that the email service provider is having an issue with the password used, or there is an issue with the email account. Contact the email service provider for support. Choose Window > Connection Doctor click "Show Detail" then click "Check Again". The information displayed in the "Show Detail" drawer may include details from the email service provider about what the issue is. Look for headers that start with [ALERT].

Note: The above items are not unique to Mac users. If your email service provider refers you to AppleCare because you are using a Mac, please request again that they first check the above items. Issues with the above items cannot be resolved by Apple.

If your email service provider confirms that the above three items are OK, you can use this article to troubleshoot the Mail issue.

Open Mail Connection Doctor

In Mail, choose Window > Connection Doctor.

Tip: If you see a spinning gear in Mail or the Mail Connection Doctor, choose Window > Activity to learn what Mail is doing.

Collapse All Sections | Expand All Sections (Or, click to a specific topic below that lists your issue.)

The Connection Status at the top of the Mail Connection Doctor window shows a red dot () and "Mail was unable to connect to the Internet."
Mail Connection Doctor shows all green dots () in the Status column
Mail Connection Doctor shows one or more red dots () in the account Status column
Additional Information
You should not alter the contents of the "~Library/Mail" folder

Important: Unless directed by an AppleCare Advisor, you should not use the Finder to alter the contents of your "~/Library/Mail" folder or its subfolders. Doing so circumvents Mail's ability to keep track of email messages, mailboxes, attachments, and so forth, and may result in data loss or other Mail issues.

See these articles as well:

Configuring Mail for your email account (Mac OS X v10.5 and later)
Mac OS X v10.6: Using Microsoft Exchange 2007 (EWS) accounts in Mail
Mac OS X v10.6: Unable to receive POP mail after updating to 10.6.2
Mac 101: Connecting to the Internet
Important: Mention of third-party websites and products is for informational purposes only and constitutes neither an endorsement nor a recommendation. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance or use of information or products found at third-party websites. Apple provides this only as a convenience to our users. Apple has not tested the information found on these sites and makes no representations regarding its accuracy or reliability. There are risks inherent in the use of any information or products found on the Internet, and Apple assumes no responsibility in this regard. Please understand that a third-party site is independent from Apple and that Apple has no control over the content on that website. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
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