Setting up IMAP in Apple Mail
Posted by UCS IT Support 4 on 13 July 2009 10:58 AM
Setting up IMAP in Apple Mail
Note: These instructions still work under Mac OS X LeopardÂ (10.5)
Most of the IMAP setup process is identical to creating a POP account. WithinÂ Mail.app:
1. Go to Preferences (Mail â†’Â Preferences)
2. On the Accounts tab, click the [+] at the bottom left to start the account setupÂ process
3. Change the Account Type to IMAP and fill in yourÂ details
4. Set the Incoming Mail Server and Outgoing Mail ServerÂ details
Many people stop at this point and assume they are finished. This is where problems arise, and why Iâ€™m writing this littleÂ tidbit.
IMAP allows all mail (including your Sent, Drafts, Spam and Trash folders, as well as custom folders) to live on the server. This is one of the main benefits of IMAP, since your account is identical whether accessing your mail from any workstation or webmail. The problem is that hosts create different sets of default folders when you create a new account, and that Mail.app doesnâ€™t automatically connect the folders on the server to its local functions (most importantly, Sent mail andÂ Drafts).
For example, MediaTemple only creates your Inbox and Spam folders; Dreamhost creates your Inbox, Sent, Drafts and Trash folders, but since Mail.app doesnâ€™t automatically assign those functions to the folders on the server, it doesnâ€™t actually matter in this case. This means if you donâ€™t follow these next steps, you wonâ€™t have any sent mail or drafts saved anywhere; this can be an annoyance or a major problem, depending on your specificÂ needs.
Creating IMAPÂ Folders
Creating new folders isÂ simple:
1. Control-click (or right-click if you have a multi-button mouse) on the Inbox for your account (if you have multiple accounts within Mail.app, youâ€™ll see sub-Inboxes in the left sidebar that have the names youâ€™ve assigned each account), and select â€œNewÂ Mailboxâ€¦â€
2. In the resulting dialog, make sure that the correct account is selected in the drop-down menu, and enter a name for the mailbox (e.g. â€œSentâ€ if youâ€™re onÂ MediaTemple).
The mailbox is created on the server, and Mail.app updates its folder list for that account. Do this as many times as you want, whenever you need a new folder to help organize your messages (for our purposes, make sure your create whatever function-related folders areÂ missing).
Setting Mail.appÂ Straight
Now that youâ€™ve made sure the folders exist, in order for Mail.app to save your drafts or copies of your sent messages it needs to know where to put them, so this final step is the mostÂ important:
1. Click the folder name that matches the function you want to assign (e.g. â€œSentâ€) so it is highlighted in theÂ list
2. Go to Mailbox â†’ Use This Mailbox For â†’ [function name] (e.g. â€œSentâ€Â again)
Thatâ€™s all there is to itÃ¢â‚¬â€your folder will disappear from the list, and reappear as a sub-folder beneath the function you specified, with the same name as the account itâ€™s connected to. So, if your account name is â€œMy IMAP Accountâ€, the â€œSentâ€ folder will now be located under â€œSent â†’ My IMAP Accountâ€ in the Mail.appÂ sidebar.
Hopefully this will ease some of the frustration of setting up an IMAP account for the first time. After youâ€™ve gone through the steps once, youâ€™ll remember them for the future and never be without your drafts and sent messagesÂ again.