How to Specify a Preferred SMTP Server on a Mac

Each email account in the Mail app can have its own outgoing server

Select the preferred server from the drop-down list screenshot
Apple, Inc.

Configuring the Mail application on Macs running OS X or macOS to include all your email accounts is relatively simple. Several popular email providers, including Google, Yahoo, Exchange, and AOL, are preconfigured in the Mail application, so you don't need to enter information other than your login name and password to set up access up some of your email accounts. They are already configured with a default SMTP server. That isn't the case with all email providers.

If you have email providers that you enter manually under Add Other Account, you need to input all the provider's information, including the SMTP server. The necessary information you need to enter is available from the email provider.

List of pre-configured email providers for Mac Mail

In addition to setting up your iCloud email account, take the time to set up your Gmail or any other email providers in the Mail application so you can access them all from within the Mail app.

Information is this article applies to the following operating systems: macOS Catalina (10.15), macOS Mojave (10.14), macOS High Sierra (10.13), macOS Sierra (10.12), OS X El Capitan (10.11), OS X Yosemite (10.10), OS X Mavericks (10.9), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), and OS X Lion (10.7).

Outgoing Email Servers

The Mail application attempts to send mail through the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server it thinks is the default outgoing email server. You may never need to make a change to the default email server listed for an account, but you may be asked to by an ISP or an employer to use a preferred SMTP server. In that case, you can specify the preferred outgoing mail server or change the existing choice for each account if needed. The app then sends each outgoing email using the SMTP account you specify.

How to Add or Change an SMTP Server

To set a preferred outgoing SMTP mail server for an account in the Mail app in Mac OS X or macOS:

  1. Open the Mail application by clicking its icon on the Dock.

    Mail application icon on the Mac Dock
  2. Click Mail in the menu bar and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.

    Path to open the Mail application preferences on a Mac
  3. Click the Accounts tab in the screen that opens and highlight the account for which you want to specify an outgoing email server.

    Mail accounts preferences screen

    If the account isn't already listed, click the plus sign to add an account. Select the type of account from the screen that opens and enter any requested information.

  4. Select the Server Settings tab.

    Mac Mail application server settings screen
  5. Choose the preferred server from the drop-down list next to Outgoing Mail Account.

    Drop-down server settings menu for Mail application

    If you want to edit or add a new outgoing mail server for an account, click Edit SMTP Server list in the drop-down menu and make the change. Click OK to close the editing screen and then select the preferred server from the drop-down list.

  6. Close the Accounts window.