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How to Fix Email Not Working in Mac Mail

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Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

It can be incredibly frustrating when you can't check-in your mail. This guide will walk you through the basic steps to check to make sure you'll be able to get your mail using Mail on macOS. Also, if problems persist, this guide will help you understand the problem and get the exact help you need from your mail provider so there's little confusion.
Problems with Mac Mail
Using This GuideWhile using this guide, after each step, try checking your mail again to see if the problem is resolved. If you continue to have issues, move onto the next step.

1 Restart

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.

2 Make Sure the Internet Connection Works

  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Chrome browser with address entered and highlighted.
  2. Make sure you're able to load Google.com. Once this loads, make sure you're able to search. Type something in the Search box, then select Google Search.
    Google home page with search field and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure search results load properly.
    Example Google Search Results
  4. If searching doesn't work, then there's reason to believe that you're not connected to the Internet. Fix the connection issue before proceeding.
    How to Fix My Internet Connection
    Learn how to troubleshoot Internet connectivity issues for any device(s) you have that are struggling to access the Internet.

3 Error Message

There are a couple common error messages you can receive when trying to send and receive email.

Password Prompt
You are prompted for a password over and over.Mac Mail password prompt.
No Mail Ever Arrives
You get no errors when you send or receive your mail, but even after sending yourself a test message, no mail arrives.
Mail Sending Error
When your mail program tries to send a message, it gives an error. Usually, these are Invalid Address, 450, 500, or 550 errors.Invalid Address error sending mail in Mac Mail

? Do you get an error?

  1. It asks for my password over and over
  2. No mail ever comes in
  3. 450, 500, or 550 Error
  4. Another Error Message

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It can be incredibly frustrating when you can't check-in your mail. This guide will walk you through the basic steps to check to make sure you'll be able to get your mail using Mail on macOS. Also, if problems persist, this guide will help you understand the problem and get the exact help you need from your mail provider so there's little confusion.
Problems with Mac Mail
Using This GuideWhile using this guide, after each step, try checking your mail again to see if the problem is resolved. If you continue to have issues, move onto the next step.
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Chrome browser with address entered and highlighted.
  2. Make sure you're able to load Google.com. Once this loads, make sure you're able to search. Type something in the Search box, then select Google Search.
    Google home page with search field and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure search results load properly.
    Example Google Search Results
  4. If searching doesn't work, then there's reason to believe that you're not connected to the Internet. Fix the connection issue before proceeding.
    How to Fix My Internet Connection
    Learn how to troubleshoot Internet connectivity issues for any device(s) you have that are struggling to access the Internet.

There are a couple common error messages you can receive when trying to send and receive email.

Password Prompt
You are prompted for a password over and over.Mac Mail password prompt.
No Mail Ever Arrives
You get no errors when you send or receive your mail, but even after sending yourself a test message, no mail arrives.
Mail Sending Error
When your mail program tries to send a message, it gives an error. Usually, these are Invalid Address, 450, 500, or 550 errors.Invalid Address error sending mail in Mac Mail

You are able to reach your email service provider, but the login credentials that are being used are not working. This could be due to the username or password being typed incorrectly, stored credentials being old or outdated, or the account itself could be locked out.

Too many failed login attempts can cause your mail provider to lock you out of your email account temporarily. This is for security reasons, so that someone can't try to guess your password all day long.

You will need to contact your email provider and ask them for assistance with accessing your account again.

After sending yourself a test message, it never arrived in your inbox. This indicates either your mail is being forwarded, or there is a problem with your mail provider. You will need to contact your email provider, and ask them to check if your mail is being forwarded, or there's another problem with your mailbox itself.

One of the messages in your Outbox is having problems sending. This can be due to a problem with the message itself, or the mail server. An easy way to test is to empty your outbox manually, then send yourself another test message.

  1. Select Mailboxes, then Outbox. Select and delete any messages listed.
    Outbox with Mailboxes, Outbox, test message, and Trash highlighted.
If problems persist after this, there's most likely some issues with the outgoing mail server itself.