Apple Mail is very easy to set up and use. In addition to helpful guides to walk you through creating an account, Apple also provides several troubleshooting guides designed to help you when things aren’t working.
The three main tools for diagnosing problems are the activity window, Connection Doctor, and email logs.
- Using the Apple Mail Activity Window
- Using Apple Mail’s Connection Doctor
- Start Connection Doctor
- View log data in Connection Doctor
- Using the console to view email logs
- Enable Email Logs (OS X Mountain Lion and earlier)
- Enable Email Registration
- View Email Logs
- Enable Email Logs (OS X Mavericks and later)
- Viewing Email Logs in OS X Mavericks and Later
Using the Apple Mail Activity Window
The Activity window, available when you select Window, Activity from the Apple Mail menu bar, displays the status of sending or receiving email for each of your email accounts. This is a quick way to find out what could be going on, such as an SMTP server (SMTP server) refusing to connect, an incorrect password, or a simple timeout because the mail server is unavailable.
The activity window has changed over time and in previous versions of the Mail app, the activity window was more useful and useful. But even with the trend of reducing the information in the Activity window, it remains one of the first places to look for problems.
The activity window doesn’t offer any troubleshooting method, but the status messages will alert you when something is wrong with your email service and usually help you figure out what it is. If the activity window shows problems with one or more email accounts, try two additional troubleshooting tools provided by Apple.
Using Apple Mail’s Connection Doctor
Apple Connection Connection can help you diagnose email problems.
Connection Doctor will confirm that you are connected to the Internet and then check each email account to make sure you can connect to both receive and send email. The status of each account is then displayed in the Connection Doctor window. If you cannot connect to the Internet, the Connection Doctor will prompt you to run a network diagnosis to determine the cause of the problem.
However, most of the email issues are most likely account related and not internet connection related. To troubleshoot account issues, the connection doctor provides both an overview for each account and a detailed log of each attempt to connect to the respective mail server.
Start Connection Doctor
Choose Connection Doctor from the Mail menu in Mail.
Connection Doctor automatically starts the verification process and displays the results for each account. The liaison doctor first checks each account’s ability to receive email and then checks each account’s ability to send email so that there are two status lists for each email account.
Any account highlighted in red has connectivity issues. The Connection Doctor will provide a brief description of the problem, such as an incorrect account name or password. For more information about account issues, you need the Connection Doctor to view the details (logs) of each connection.
View log data in Connection Doctor
In the Connection Doctor window, click the View Details button.
The tray slides out from the bottom of the window. If available, this drawer will display the contents of the logs. Click the Recheck button to restart Connection Doctor and view the logs.
You can review the logs to find any errors and see a more detailed reason for any problems. The only problem with displaying details in the Connection Doctor application is that the text cannot be found, at least not from the Connection Doctor window. If you have multiple accounts, it can be cumbersome to browse logs. Of course you can copy/paste the logs into a text editor and then try to find specific account information, but there is another option: the mail logs themselves, which monitors your system.
Using the console to view email logs
While the activity window lets you see in real time what’s happening when you send or receive email, email logs go one step further and track every event. Since the activity window is displayed in real time, you may miss the connection problem message if you look away or even blink. Email logs, on the other hand, keep track of the connection process, which you can review at your leisure.
Enable Email Logs (OS X Mountain Lion and earlier)
Apple includes an AppleScript to enable email registration. Once enabled, console logs monitor your email logs until you close the email application. If you want to keep Mail’s logging, you’ll need to run the script again before starting Mail.
Enable Email Registration
If Mail is open, close Mail.
Open the folder at: /Library/Scripts/Mailscripts .
Double click on the file Enable Logging.scpt .
When the AppleScript Editor window opens, click the walk in the top left corner.
If a dialog box opens asking if you want to run the script, click walk .
A dialog box will then open asking if you want to enable “Socket logging for checking or sending email. Log out of Mail to disable registration. Click the button Both .
Registration is enabled and Mail is launched.
View Email Logs
Email logs are written as console messages that can be viewed in the Apple console application. The console allows you to view the various logs that your Mac stores.
Boot the console /Applications/Utilities/.
In the console window, expand the Database Search area in the left pane.
Select an item Console Messages .
The right pane now lists all messages recorded on the console. Email messages contain the sender ID com.apple.mail. You can filter out all other console messages by entering com.apple.mail in the field Filter in the upper-right corner of the console window. You can also use the field Filter to find only the specific email account that is having problems. For example, if you’re having trouble connecting to Gmail, type “gmail.com” (without quotes) in the Filter . If you’re only having connectivity issues when sending email, type “smtp” (without quotes) in the Filter field to only show logs when sending email.
Enable Email Logs (OS X Mavericks and later)
Open the Connection Doctor window in Mail by selecting: Connection Doctor window .
Put a check in the box that says: Log connection activity .
Viewing Email Logs in OS X Mavericks and Later
In previous versions of Mac OS, you used the console to view email logs. Starting with OS X Mavericks, you can bypass the console application and view the logs collected in any text editor, including the console if you want.
In Mail, open the Connection Doctor window and click the Show logs .
A Finder window will open with a folder containing the email logs.
There are separate logs for each email account set up on your Mac.
Double click on the log to open it in TextEdit, or right click on the log and select Open in the pop-up menu to open the journal in the app of your choice.
You can now use the email logs to find the type of problem you are having, such as password rejection, connection rejection, or server downtime. Once you’ve found the problem, use Mail to reset your account settings, then try running Connection Doctor again for a quick test. The most common problems are the wrong account name or password, connection to the wrong server, wrong port number, or wrong form of authentication.
Use the logs to compare all of the above with the information provided by your email provider to set up your email client. Finally, if you’re still having issues, copy the email logs showing the issue and ask your email provider to review them and provide assistance.