How To: Create An iOS 8 IMAP Mail Account

How To: Create An iOS 8 IMAP Mail AccountI created a previous “How To” on the same subject many years ago and many versions of iOS ago. I decided it was time to “refresh” this “How To” with instructions for iOS 8. The only really important thing that has changed is the interface. Setting up an IMAP account is still pretty much the same as before. I hope this helps my clients as well as others looking to do this for the first time. Though the images are from an iPhone 6 they will be similar enough for any iOS device mail setup too.

There are some quirks involved with setting up IMAP mail on iOS. Especially for those ISPs or mail providers who don’t support SSL (secure sockets layer). The default for iOS 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 a slower connection and not a Wi-Fi connection. Even with Wi-Fi the wait can seem like an eternity! Though I must say, in iOS 8 the wait has decreased from previous iOS releases. Your wait may vary, so please be patient.

Things you will need:
> Your iPhone
> A working eMail account set up with your hosting company.
> Your eMail account settings written down.
> Patience.

I would advise reading through the entire How-To before starting the process … just for your own sanity.
Here we go ….
gMJRp2sOpen the “Settings” app from your Home Screen.

1) Select: “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”.

2) Select: “Add Account”

3) Select: “Other”

step-04-Add-Mail Account
4) Select: “Add Mail Account”

5) Fill in account info & click “Next”

6) Fill in account info & click “Next”
TIP: With most eMail providers, your username will always be your FULL eMail address, unless otherwise noted.
TIP: Once I’ve typed out the domain name in iOS, I will copy the portion of the URL to the iOS clipboard. This way I can paste it in other fields as I’m filling out the IMAP info. It helps me to be much more accurate, especially on an iPhone.
  • 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: or It may also be that your SMTP and IMAP addresses are the same, as in: , in which case you’d put in both Host Name fields.
  • Once all information entry is complete select the Next button.
  • Now wait for iOS to negotiate your IMAP and SMTP settings with the mail server, depending on the network connection speed … this may take a (long) while. Please be patient.
  • If your provider does not use SSL you will get the “Cannot Connect” dialog (Step 7). Select “Yes” and carry on.
7) If no SSL select “Yes”

8) If you made mistakes, click OK & correct any mistakes. Go back to Step 6.

9) When things are correct you will see the “spinner” and “Verifying”.

10) When correct & complete, all items will have blue checks & the title will read “New Account”.

11) If you are done select Save

12) Or make changes and Select Save.

13) This is your new account.

You now have 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.

Change Your SMTP Port | Change SSL Setting
SSL: Most hosting companies do not use Secure Socket Layer (SSL). If that’s the case of your hosting company, continue on with this section.

SMTP: Some ISPs block SMTP Port 25 if you are not connected to their network — for a multitude of reasons. To get around this restriction, some domain/mail hosting companies allow sending on alternate port numbers. allows SMTP via Port 26, while my current hosting company A2 Hosting allows SMTP on port 2525. 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 continue with Step 14 – Step 19.

14) Select “Your New Account”

15) Select “Your eMail Account”

16) Select your SMTP server.

17) Select the “Primary SMTP Sever Account”

18) If you need to change your SMTP Port do it in this section. The default port is 25. Change the port number to your host’s custom port number if needed.

19) The default for this setting is usuallly on (green). Most hosting companies don’t use SSL. Turn it off here.

20) When you are done with Step 18 & Step 19 select “Done”

21) Select “Account”

22) Select “Done”. You’ve now saved your changes too.

Mapping iOS Mailboxes To IMAP Server Folders
This section is very important for IMAP users & must be done.

After setting up a new eMail account you MUST “map” the internal iOS Mailboxes (which are only local and only available to the iOS device) to the IMAP folders on your hosting company’s servers. This allows any other device — mobile or desktop — to read, write or save eMail to the same place. If this is not done, any sent, saved, or archived mail will only be on your local iOS device and defeat the purpose of IMAP.

On a Mac using Apple and on iOS devices, the default mailboxes (folders) are named differently than any other operating system. In Apple’s world the Mailboxes/Folders are named this way: Drafts = Drafts, Sent = Sent Messages, Trash = Deleted Messages, Archive = Archive.

23) Select your new eMail account.

24) Select “Advanced”

25) Select “Drafts Mailbox”

26) 1] Select “Drafts” on the server.
2] Select Advanced to go back to the previous screen and save selection.

27) Select “Sent Mailbox”

28) 1] Select “Sent Messages” on the server.
2] Select Advanced to go back to the previous screen and save selection.

29) Select “Delete Items”

30) 1] Select “Deleted Items” on the server.
2] Select Advanced to go back to the previous screen and save selection.


On my Mac and iOS devices I set the “Archive Mailbox” to map to “Deleted Messages”. If I want to Archive anything I file messages by hand on my computer in my own folder filing system. Sometimes iOS will allow you to map the Archived Mailbox to Deleted Messages, sometimes not.

There are only a few other items you can set. But I won’t go into great detail. You can select how long iOS will keep deleted items. On my Mac, I empty the Deleted Items when I quit On my iOS devices I have deletion set for 1 day, it’s the shortest time allowed. This way I don’t end up with thousands of eMails taking up space in the Trash on the server becuase I forget to “empty the trash”. This is also good for those who are allotted limited account server space. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen with thousands of eMails in thier trash.

One other issue you may face. If you launch iOS Mail and you don’t see your folder hierarchy you may need to go to the Advanced settings of your account (on your iOS device) 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. Now you’re set to send and recieve mail from your iOS device.


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