Summary: This document provides specific instructions on how to configure the Mail application provided with Mac OS X for use with UW email, directory, and news services. The example uses Mail version 1.3 (with OS X 10.3)

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Cautions about OS X Mail

Older versions of OS X Mail should be used with some caution, they have some behaviors that put an unexpectedly heavy load on the UW email servers, they may NOT be appropriate email software for users that have either a large number of folders, or big folders. If you do use "Apple Mail" then please use at least version 1.3

It is strongly advised that you use the most recent version of Apple Mail available, however, this will require that you purchase an update of the Macintosh operating system to the most recent available, and your computer be able to run the latest version. If you are unable to keep the system itself updated, then you may be better off using an email program that you can keep up to date separate from the system itself, such as Thunderbird.

Installing Mac OS X Mail

The "Mail" application is automatically installed as part of OS X. No separate installation is necessary. NOTE: It is strongly recommended that you use at least Mail version 1.3 (with OS X 10.3). You MUST be sure you are using at LEAST version 10.1.3 of OS X as prior versions do NOT provide the ssl security necessary to connect to UW email services.

Configuring Mac OS X Mail to Use With UW Email

For Experienced Users

If you are experienced configuring Web and email client software, just use the values in the Values Summary box below.

Use These Values to Configure the Mac OS X Mail App
When Mail asks you for the: It is looking for the: You Enter:
Email Address Your "@u." email address*
Incoming Server UW IMAP Server *
User name your mail account your_uwnetid
IMAP Path Prefix IMAP directory path mail
Outgoing Server UW SMTP server**
LDAP Server UW LDAP server
LDAP Server, Search Base LDAP search root o=University of Washington, c=US

* Where "your_uwnetid" is replaced by your actual UW NetID. In the example that follows, "myuwid" is used as the UW NetID.

**If using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) OTHER than the UW then use the SMTP server provided by your ISP. Authentication (using UW NetID and password) is supported on the UW SMTP servers and compatible with Apple Mail. If authentication is used you MUST also use SSL for the SMTP connection, but can then use the UW SMTP servers from a non-UW network connection.

If you are using the "" service (for alumni, etc.) then a few of these values will be different than for active students, faculty and staff.

Use These Values with
When Mail asks you for the: It is looking for the: You Enter:
Email Address Your "" email address*
Incoming Server IMAP Server*
Outgoing Server SMTP server**

Detailed Configuration Instructions

To configure Mail for use at the UW, you will need to set it up correctly. Be sure your computer has an active Internet connection. If your computer uses a modem to dial in and establish a PPP connection (e.g., using "Internet Connect") be sure to dial in BEFORE running the Mail app.

Configuring Mail the First Time it's Run

  1. To run Mail just double-click the Mail application icon in the "Applications" folder or click it in the "Dock".

    If Mail has not been run before, a "helper" may appear, and you see a dialog window similar to the one pictured below:

    Welcome window

    NOTE: If you don't see this dialog it just means that Mail has been run before, and you need to continue here.

  2. Unfortunately, this "helper" will NOT let you set all the options you need to connect to UW email, nor is there a simple "let me do it myself" button. To escape the "helper" enter some bogus information for your name and email address and click OK to get a dialog box similar to the one pictured below:

  3. Click Ignore to get to the main Mail window as pictured below. If Mail WAS run previously you will also start at this point.

Creating Your UW Account in Mail

The main Mail window is pictured below, you may have one (or more, or none...) email account already listed, but need to add your UW account to Mail.

  1. From the Mail menu, select Preferences, then (if necessary) click the Accounts item to bring up the accounts preferences panel, pictured below.

  2. Click the "Plus" (lower/left) to add an account, which will bring up the account information panel, pictured below.

  3. Use the pop-up list next to Account Type: to select "IMAP".
  4. For Description, enter an appropriate description (as you prefer, e.g., "UW Internet Mail").
  5. For Email Address, enter your "" (or "") email address.
  6. For Full Name, enter your full name.
  7. For Incoming Mail Server, enter your IMAP server as (or where your_uwnetid is replaced by YOUR real UW NetID.
  8. For User name, enter your UW NetID.
  9. Optionally, for Password, enter your UW password, if you do not enter it here you will simply be prompted for it when needed.
  10. For Outgoing Mail Server, click the double-headed arrow (at the right of the SMTP server name) and select "Add Server" to get a dialog box similar to the one pictured below.


  11. For Outgoing Server enter "" (or ""), unless you are connecting via a non-UW network, in which case, enter the SMTP server name as provided by the service provider you DO use.
  12. Set "Server Port" to 587.
  13. Enable "Authentication" via "password".
  14. Enter your UW NetID as "User Name".
  15. Enter the password for your UW NetID.
  16. Click "OK" to close this subpanel.
  17. Click the "Special Mailboxes" tab to continue with the options panel pictured below.

  18. None of the checkboxes for Drafts, Sent or Junk should be checked (yet)
  19. Be sure the checkbox next to "Move deleted messages to Trash" is NOT checked
  20. Click the "Advanced" tab to continue with the options panel pictured below.

  21. Be sure the checkbox next to "Enable this account" is checked
  22. Be sure the checkbox next to "Include this account when checking for new mail" is checked
  23. Be sure the checkbox next to "Compact mailboxes when closing" is checked
  24. Leave the "Account Directory" blank for now, Mail app will fill in an appropriate value itself (where it stores account info on your computer).
  25. The setting for "Keep copies" is somewhat controversial. Mail really WANTS to cache all messages and attachments, that lets it provide certain functions and services with good performance, but MAY impose a performance burden when checking for new messages. The setting shown, "only messages I've read" places the smallest load on the UW mail servers.
  26. Next to IMAP Path Prefix, you MUST enter "mail" to see the same folder collections that you see with Pine, WebPine, etc.
  27. You MUST be sure the checkbox next to "Use SSL" is checked (this will automatically fill in the correct port number, 993).
  28. Select (from the pop-up list) an Authentication method of "password".
  29. Click the "General" item to bring up a dialog box similar to that pictured below, if prompted to "save" settings first, do so.

  30. Next to "Check for new mail:" select an interval of at least every 10 minutes (which, with version 10.3, means using "every 15 minutes").
  31. Click the red button (top/left) to close the Account configuration panels.

At this point enough of the configuration should be done to let Mail app find your Inbox and folders (if any) on the UW email server. When you've closed the account configuration panel click on the "In" box at the top of your list of mailboxes (if you don't see that list, click on "Mailboxes" first) you may be prompted for your password, and you should see messages in your "UW" inbox listed in the main messages pane and your folders will "fly out" in the panel to the side of that. It may look something like the picture below.

Configuring Mail and Pine to Share Folders

By setting the "Account Prefix Path" to "mail" you've already got Mail app and Pine (WebPine, etc.) looking at the same starting place for folders. You should probably also configure Mail app so that you can see deleted messages (until expunged), similar to what pine uses, and uses the same folders pine does for copies of sent mail.

Note: Perform this configuration ONLY AFTER getting the basic Mail app configuration above done and having seen a list of your UW email folders from within the Mail app.

  1. If it isn't already running, run the Mail app (be sure you have an active Internet connection first...).
  2. Click on your "sent-mail" folder in the list of folders, this will select that folder for the next action. From the "Mailbox" menu select "Use Selected Mailbox for -> Sent". Note that when you do this your "sent-mail" folder will DISAPPEAR from the list of folders! It is now represented by the "Sent" folder, but it is still really named "sent-mail" on the server, so you'll see the same sent messages from OS X Mail, Pine, WebPine, etc.
  3. By default, Mail app will have created a "Drafts" folder that is ON your Macintosh's disk. It is not possible to share a "Drafts" ("postponed") messages folder between Pine and Mail app, so this is probably fine. If you use OS X Mail app on MULTIPLE computers you can choose to save the Drafts folder on server under Mail->Preferences->Account->(your account)->Edit->Special Mailboxes and there turn on the option to store Drafts on the server.
  4. Since this combination of settings will leave "deleted" messages in the folder until "compacted" (similar to Pine's "expunge") you may want to set the option to view such deleted messages. From the View menu item, if you see an option to "Show Deleted Messages" then select it. When selected, this will toggle to become "Hide Deleted Messages". Also note that we previously set Mail app, under advanced account options, to automatically compact folders on exit.

Configuring Message Composition Options

You will probably want to set the message composition option to send "plain text" by default, so that it can be read by the most people with the least trouble.

  1. If it isn't already running, run Mail (be sure you have an active Internet connection first...).
  2. From the Mail menu, select Preferences, then click the Composing item to bring up the composing preferences panel, pictured below.

  3. Next to Format, use the pop-up list to select "Plain Text".
  4. Click the red circle (top/left) to close the preferences panel.

Configuring Mac OS X Mail app to Use LDAP

  1. If it isn't already running, run Mail (be sure you have an active Internet connection first...).
  2. From the Mail menu, select Preferences, then click the Composing item to bring up the composing preferences panel, pictured below.

  3. Be sure the checkbox next to "Automatically complete addresses" is checked.
  4. Click "Configure LDAP" to bring up the server configuration panel, similar to the picture below.

  5. Click "Plus" (lower/left) to add a new LDAP service, which brings up a panel similar to the picture below.

  6. Click next to "Name" and add a descriptive name as you prefer (e.g., "UW LDAP")
  7. Click next to "Server" and enter ""
  8. Click next to "Search Base" and enter
    o=University of Washington, c=US

    NOTE: Type this exactly as it appears. The first character is the letter "oh" (NOT the number zero). Be sure to include the comma and the space after Washington. Also note that you can change the behavior of the LDAP search by modifying this string. For example, to limit the search to ONLY UW faculty and staff use
    ou=Faculty and Staff, ou=People, o=University of Washington, c=US

    Or, to limit to students only use
    ou=Students, ou=People, o=University of Washington, c=US

  9. Leave the Port and Scope at the default (389, Subtree) settings.
  10. Click "Save" and "Close"
  11. Click the red circle (top/left) to close the preferences panel.

    Note that Mail actually cooperates with the OS X "Address Book" program, and it is the Address Book program that actually was configured with the LDAP server information.

Converting Your Pine Address Book

There is currently no single easy and reliable method to convert Pine address books to OS X Mail.