Help – I Can’t Send Emails from My Mac!

May 16, 2011, By Christian Cawley

As pre-installed email clients go, Mac Mail is pretty useful, offering a streamlined account setup process and plenty of options for sending and reading messages.

However thanks to the nature of email, this app doesn’t always perform perfectly. Connection issues are a particular bugbear, while firewalls and filtering rules can also lead to problems sending and reading messages.

If you’re wondering why messages won’t send or why Mail is displaying an exclamation mark next to your inbox, the rest of this article should help you to work out what is going on and how to resolve it!

Help - I Can’t Send Emails from my Mac!

Checking Your Connection

If you’re having problems sending email messages from your Mac, the problem is going to be either your Internet connection or your firewall. We’ll move onto firewall issues in the next section, but first check that you can access other online services (such as your Safari home page or Twitter) before moving on to check your connection in Mail.

In Mail, use the Window > Connection Doctor tool to test the connection to your incoming and outgoing mail servers.

If you can’t send email, the problem probably lies with outgoing messages, so double-click any that show a red dot in the Status column. At this stage you should be checking your email settings with those supplied by your email provider, whether this is a service such as Gmail or your ISP.

Is My Firewall Blocking Mail?

While this might not happen regularly, your firewall might be blocking email, particularly after an update to either Mail or your firewall software (which might be installed on your Mac or be in an external device such as your wireless router).

However you are controlling what comes in and out of your home network, you will need to check your firewall to make sure it isn’t blocking the default ports required for sending email. Depending on your email provider and the encryption they provide, this will differ; again, you will need to check with the settings they provide.

The usual ports are 25, 110, 143, 465, 587, 993 and 995, which are each used by default for various combinations of POP access, IMAP access and SSL.

Why Is There an Exclamation Mark Next to my Inbox?

Should you find a “!” symbol alongside your Mail inbox, the chances are that you have entered incorrect information somewhere along the line, such as an incorrect password. Again, use the Connection Doctor tool to investigate what the problem might be, double-clicking any account listed with a red dot in the Status area so that you can check the server details, login credentials (username and password) and the port details, all of which can be found in the Account Information and Advanced tabs.

With these troubleshooting tips you shouldn’t run into any further problems sending emails on your Mac!

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