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. This example uses version 2.0 of Mail (included with Mac OS X 10.4).

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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 Mail
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
Account Path Prefix IMAP directory path mail
SMTP Host UW SMTP server**
authenticated/secured connection required,
port 587 recommended
Address server, Host name UW LDAP server
Address server, BaseDN LDAP search root o=University of Washington, c=US

* Where "your_uwnetid" is replaced by your actual UW NetID.

**If using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) OTHER than the UW then use the SMTP server provided by your ISP.

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 new account creation wizard will appear, and you'll see a dialog window similar to the one pictured below:

    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 wizard 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. In order to complete the new account creation processes you'll need to enter in some bogus information and then fill in the rest later. Note: If you don't insert bogus information in this initial account creation wizard, Mail will send your authentication information (UW NetID and password) unencrypted over the network. Please do not supply your password to this account creation wizard.
  3. Next, you'll need to fill in some general information:

  4. Replace the values above so that the window looks like the following:
  5. The Account Type should be IMAP.
  6. The Account Description should be "UW Internet Mail".
  7. Full Name should be the name you would like to be displayed with your outgoing email.
  8. Click Continue.
  9. Next, you'll be asked to fill in your incoming mail server information. As mentioned above, do not fill in your password here.
  10. Fill in the above fields so that they look like the picture below:
  11. Your Incoming Mail Server should be (or if you are a subscriber).
  12. Your User Name should be your UW NetID.
  13. Click Continue.
  14. Because your password is not present you'll see an error when you click Continue. Simply click Continue again to proceed with the wizard. You'll be able to set the correct values later.
  15. Next, you'll be asked to configure your incoming mail security:
  16. Check the box that says 'Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)'. 
  17. Authentication should be set to 'Password'. 
  18. After making these changes, the window should appear as below:
  19. Next, you'll be asked to configure your outgoing mail server:
  20. Outgoing Mail Server should be set to
  21. Leave the Use Authentication button unchecked and the User Name and Password fields blank. The window should now look like this:
  22. Click Continue.
  23. Next, you'll see a confirmation screen with the settings you have inputted:
  24. Click Continue.
  25. Next you'll be told your account has been created:
  26. Click Done.
  27. At this point you'll need to make some additional changes to get Mail to read your UW email correctly. The instructions below detail this process.

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. If you have completed the new account creation process above you should have values similar to the ones listed below. As mentioned before, some of these values will need to be changed.

  2. Note: If you have an existing account and would like to add your UW email account, click on the plus (+) button in the lower left corner to add a new account. This will launch the new account creation wizard mentioned above.
  3. Enter your UW NetID password into the Password field.
  4. Click on the Server Settings button. You should see the following window:
  5. Confirm that your Outgoing Mail Server is set to unless you are connecting via a non-UW network, in which case, enter the SMTP server name that is provided by the service provider you do use.
  6. Confirm that your Server port is set to 587 and that Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is checked.
  7. Authentication method should be Password.
  8. Enter your UW NetID for the User Name field and your UW NetID password for the Password field. You may also opt to not to enter your password here, in which case you'll be asked for it each time you send email.
  9. Click OK. This should you back to the accounts window.
  10. Click the Mailbox Behaviors tab to continue with the options panel pictured below.

  11. None of the check boxes for Drafts, Sent or Junk should be checked (yet).
  12. Be sure the check box next to "Move deleted messages to Trash" is not checked.
  13. Click the "Advanced" tab to continue with the options panel pictured below.

  14. Be sure the check box next to "Enable this account" is checked.
  15. Be sure the check box next to "Include this account when checking for new mail" is checked.
  16. Be sure the check box next to "Compact mailboxes when closing" is checked.
  17. Don't change the value in "Account Directory". It should be ~/Library/Mail by default.
  18. 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.
  19. Next to IMAP Path Prefix, you must enter "mail" to see the same folder collections that you see with Pine, WebPine, etc.
  20. You must be sure the check box next to "Use SSL" is checked (this will automatically fill in the correct port number, 993).
  21. Select (from the pop-up list) an Authentication method of Password.
  22. Click the red button in the top left corner to close the Account configuration panels. You should be asked if you'd like to save your changes, please click Save.
  23. Finally, click the Get Mail button at the top of the Mail toolbar to start downloading your inbox and any folders you have on the UW email server.

What you should see now is something like this:

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 dissappear 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 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, so this is probably fine. If you use OS X Mail 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, 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 in the top left corner to close the preferences panel.

Configuring Mac OS X Mail 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 check box next to "Automatically complete addresses" is checked.
  4. Click the Configure LDAP button to bring up the server configuration panel, similar to the picture below.

  5. Click the plus (+) button in the lower left corner 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 then Close.
  11. Click the red circle in the top left corner to close the preferences panel.

    Note that Mail actually cooperates with the OS X Address Book program, and it is this 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.

Changing Your Password

For security reasons, everyone is encouraged to change their UW NetID password at least every ninety days.

If you have saved your email account password as part of the configuration of your Mail program, then you will also need to change that stored password whenever you change your UW NetID password.

If you don't change the password stored in your Mail program, you will get a "password error" when you attempt to connect to the email server because it will be trying to use the old stored password. Since regularly changing your UW NetID password is a recommended procedure, we do not advise that you store your password in your Mail program.

To change the password stored in Mail for Macintosh:

  1. Start Mail,  Select "Mail" -> "Preferences"

  2. Select "Accounts" icon.

  3. Your Mail window will look similar to the image below. Replace the entry in the "Password" field (which will always be shown as  "dots")  with your new/current password. Close the window.

  4. The confirmation dialog comes up. Press "Save" button to apply the change.

  5. Verify that the UW e-mail is accessible now.

If you need any further assistance, please contact UW Technology help at