Getting iCloud Mail Working on Your Mac

Use Apple Mail to Access your iCloud Mail Account

iCloud Preferences screen

iCloud, Apple's solution to cloud-based storage and syncing, includes a free web-based email account that you can access from any Mac, Windows, or iOS device via the iCloud website either through a browser or the Mail app.

Fire Up iCloud

If you haven't already done so, you need to set up the iCloud services. You can find complete instructions for setting up iCloud at Setting Up an iCloud Account on Your Mac

Enable iCloud Mail Service in MacOS

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu or the Dock.

    Opening the iCloud preferences screen
  2. In the list of preference panes that opens, select iCloud. (If you haven't enabled your iCloud account yet, the iCloud preference pane asks for your Apple ID and password. Provide the information and click Sign In.)

  3. Place a check mark next to, at a minimum, the Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes, and Safari options.

    Activating iCloud services on the Mac
  4. Exit the iCloud preference screen and save the changes by clicking the back arrow at the top of the screen.

  5. Verify that the iCloud Mail account was created for you by launching Apple Mail and then selecting Preferences from the Mail menu. With the Mail Preferences open, click on the Accounts icon. You'll see the details for your iCloud Mail account.

    Confirming iCloud account in Accounts preferences

Confirm that Enable this account is checked and that the Status indicates the account is online. Additional optional settings for the account are in the Mailbox Behaviors and Server Settings tabs.

That’s it. You're all set to use your iCloud Mail service with your Apple Mail app.

Enable iCloud Mail Service in Earlier Versions of OS X

The process is similar in earlier versions of the Mac operating system, although there are slight variations depending on your OS X version. This process is typical:

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the Dock icon or selecting System Preferences in the Apple menu and selecting iCloud.

  2. iCloud Mail is part of the Mail & Notes service of iCloud. To enable iCloud Mail, place a ​check mark next to Mail & Notes.

  3. If this is your first time using iCloud Mail & Notes, you are asked to create an email account. All iCloud email accounts end in @me or @icloud.com. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your iCloud email account.

  4. After you complete the email setup, exit the iCloud preferences pane. Don't use the Sign Out button to exit; just click the back button near the top left of the iCloud preferences pane to show all the available system preferences.

Add Your iCloud Mail Account to the Apple Mail App in OS X Earlier Versions

Although you can access your iCloud Mail account from any browser, it is more convenient to link it to the Apple Mail app. If your iCloud account isn't available in the Mac's Mail app, you need to add it manually. Here's how:

  1. Quit Apple Mail if it's open.

  2. Open System Preferences in the Apple menu and click Internet Accounts.

    Working with Internet Accounts preferences
  3. The Internet Accounts preference pane displays the current list of mail, message, and other Internet accounts in use on your Mac in the left panel. Click the + at the bottom of the list and select iCloud from the available email accounts listed on the right side of the screen.

    Adding iCloud to Internet Accounts list
  4. Supply the Apple ID and password that you used to set up iCloud earlier. The iCloud account is added to the left pane of accounts currently active on your Mac.

    Signing in to iCloud in preferences
  5. Click the iCloud account in the left pane and confirm that Mail, Contacts, and Notes all have a check mark in front of them.

    Confirming iCloud services
  6. Exit System Preferences by tapping the red circle in the top left corner of the Internet Accounts screen.

  7. Launch Apple Mail. Look for iCloud listed in Mail's Inbox section. You may need to click the Inbox disclosure triangle to expand the Inbox list to see it.

Test With iCloud Mail From the Web

  1. Test the iCloud Mail account to ensure that everything is working correctly. An easy way to do this is to access the iCloud mail system by going to iCloud.com in a browser.

    Logging in to iCloud.com
  2. Enter your Apple ID and password.

  3. Click the Mail icon.

    Selecting Mail at iCloud.com
  4. Send a test message from iCloud.com to one of your other email accounts.

    Sending a text message from iCloud
  5. Wait a few minutes and then check Apple Mail to see if the test message came through. If it did, dash off a reply and check the results in the iCloud mail system.

That's all there is to setting up the Apple Mail application to access your iCloud email account.