It seems I’ve helped dozens of clients trying to set up IMAP mail on their iPhone. So I’ve finally decided to document this in a “How To” post. For those of you who’s ISPs do not support IMAP mail, at some point in the future I may do the same thing for POP setup. For those ready to tackle this … read on.
There are some quirks involved with setting up IMAP mail on the iPhone. Especially for those ISPs or mail providers who don’t support SSL (secure sockets layer). The default for iPhone is to create any account with SSL on. Some of the biggest confusion for first time users is how long it takes SSL to be negotiated the first time the IMAP account is set up, especially if your are doing it over Edge or 3G and not a Wi-Fi connection. But even with Wi-Fi the wait can seem like an eternity! And all the confusing error dialogs that are popped up for you to act upon. Hopefully I’ve documented all those situations.
Things you will need:
> Your iPhone
> A working eMail account set up with your hosting company.
> Your eMail account settings written down.
I would advise reading through the entire How-To before starting the process … just for your own sanity.
So here we go ….
- Select the IMAP tab
- Be certain to enter all information correctly.
- Be sure the Host Name for both Incoming Mail Server (IMAP) and Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP) do not contain the “@” symbol and instead use a period “.” as in: imap.yourdomain.com or smtp.yourdomain.com. It may also be that your SMTP and IMAP addresses are the same, as in: mail.yourhost.com , in which case you’d put mail.yourhost.com in both Host Name fields.
- Once all information entry is complete select the Save button. Now wait for iPhone Mail to negotiate your IMAP and SMTP settings with the mail server, depending on the network connection speed … this may take a while.
- If your mail provider does not do SLS you will get two error dialogs. One for IMAP and one for SMTP. PLEASE WAIT FOR EACH. No matter how long they take. See steps 8 and 9.
- If your mail provider does do SLS, you will get no errors. Unless you’ve typing errors. Move to step 10.
Now there is a new IMAP account on your iPhone. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Depending on your situation there are a few steps that you may or may not need to do. Those will be covered in the next few sections. We will need to also check that the IMAP folders are correctly associated with the iPhone folders for Drafts Mailbox, Sent Mailbox, and Deleted Mailbox.
If your mail provider does not support SSL follow from step 11.
If your mail provider (gMail) does support SSL jump to step 15.
My host, Bluehost.com allows SMTP via Port 26, which is great! No matter where I am, or what network I’m connected to I can send mail without errors or complaint. If you need to change the SMTP Server Port number do it in Step 16 in the Server Port field at the bottom, before continuing on.
When matching up folders on the server, your folder names may not be the same as my folders … but I think you’ll know which are which. There are only a few other items you can set. But I won’t go into great detail. You can select how long to hold onto deleted items. On my Mac, I empty the Deleted Items when I quit Mail.app. On the iPhone I have mine set for 1 day. This way I don’t end up with thousands of eMails taking up space in the Trash on the server.One other issue you may face. If when you launch iPhone Mail and you don’t see your folder hierarchy you may need to go to the Advanced settings of your account (on your iPhone) and in the field for “IMAP Path Prefix” enter the word INBOX in caps. That should allow you to see all your folders.
Other than that … you’re done! Press the physical Home button on your iPhone and launch iPhone Mail. That’s it.
Finally. As of iOS 4 you can only have one signature for your iPhone Mail, even if you have several eMail accounts. Hopefully Apple will address this in a future release. But until then, there are some great utilities out there that can get you through. Two of my faves are Pastebot from Tapbots LLC & TextExpander Touch from Smile on My Mac. I may do posts on some of these at a later date.
For now …. go send some mail from your iPhone! Have fun!