Using FastMail with Mac OS X Mail

What you need to know

Note: If you already know how to set up your client, and you already understand the information below, see this help page for the server information you need to set up your e-mail client. The Troubleshooting Issues section at the bottom of this page may be helpful if you have problems.

In order to use Mac OS X Mail with FastMail, you'll need to enter the following information:

  • username - When you signed up for FastMail, you chose a username which is also your e-mail address. You must use the full username, including the name and the domain part, which is the part after the '@' symbol. For example, a user named John Doe might have chosen a username of "johndoe@fastmail.fm". Make sure that you specify your username in lowercase only.
  • password - When you signed up for FastMail, you chose a password to go along with your username. You will need the password to access your account. The password also keeps others from being able to access your e-mail. Your password is case sensitive, so be sure that you type it in correctly. "PASS123" is different to  "pass123". Often, users forget about the CapsLock button and mistype their password.
  • incoming mail server (IMAP or POP) - This is the server that you get your e-mail from. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Post Office Protocol (POP) are retrieval methods used to move e-mail messages from the server to your e-mail client so that you can read your messages. POP access is not available for all service levels, please check the pricing table for details. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is required for your protection as well. SSL keeps people from reading your e-mail as it is transmitted between the e-mail server and your computer.
  • outgoing mail server (SMTP) - This is the server that sends your e-mail. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the method that your client uses to move e-mail messages from your client to the server so that it can send your messages. The FastMail SMTP server is not available for all service levels, please check the pricing table for details. If your service level does not allow use of the FastMail SMTP server, you must use the SMTP server provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    The FastMail SMTP server requires SMTP Authentication. This keeps people who are not users of the FastMail service from using the SMTP server to send spam messages on the Internet. SSL is required for the FastMail SMTP server. If you don't use the FastMail SMTP server, you may have different options or requirements. You will need to get that information from your ISP.

Many thanks to Tom Penzer for these instructions.

Incoming/Outgoing Server Setup

  1. Launch Mail and select 'Preferences' from the 'Mail' menu.

  2. In the 'Preferences' window, click the 'Accounts' button and then the 'Add Account' button.

  3. In the 'Account Information' window, select 'IMAP' for the 'Account Type:' field. Give a description for your account in the 'Description' field. For 'Email Address:' field, enter your FastMail email address. In the 'Full Name:' field, enter your name as you would like it to appear in the mails you send. In the 'Incoming Mail Server:' field, enter 'mail.messagingengine.com'. For the 'User Name:' field, again enter your email address at FastMail. Give your password in the 'Password:' field. In the 'Outgoing Mail Server:' choose the 'Add Server...' option in the popup menu.

    Note: Guest users do not have access to the 'mail.messagingengine.com' SMTP server. Member, Full and Enhanced users do have access to the 'mail.messagingengine.com' SMTP server, so the following does not apply. Guest users should instead set the 'Outgoing Mail Server' field to your ISP's SMTP server. You should be able to find this information in your ISP's documentation. We don't have the information, so please don't email us asking what it is. Also, depending on the strictness of your ISP, you may also need to set the 'Email Address' field in step 3 to your ISP's email address. The only way to be sure of if this is required or not is to try and send an email, and if you get an error, try again after changing to your ISP's email address. Finally, if it still doesn't work, you should make sure that the 'Use SSL' checkbox displayed in step 4 below is NOT checked.

  4. In the 'SMTP Server Options' window, enter ''mail.messagingengine.com'' in the 'Outgoing Mail Server' text field. If you want to use SSL for secure mail transfers, check the 'Use SSL' checkbox, and choose 'Password' in the 'Authentication' popup menu. In the 'User Name:' field, enter your full email address at FastMail and in the 'Password' field, enter your FastMail password.

    Guest users using their ISP's SMTP server should make sure that the 'Use SSL' checkbox displayed above is NOT checked.

  5. Now, select the 'Advanced' tab on the top of the 'Account Information' window. In the 'Account Directory:' field, enter '~/Library/Mail'. In the 'IMAP Path Prefix:' field, enter 'Inbox'. From the experience of some users, getting the capitalisation correct here is important. Using 'inbox' or 'INBOX' seems to cause varying levels of confusion in different versions of Mac OS X Mail, so make sure it is Inbox.

    If you would like to use SSL to secure your incoming mail as well, check the 'Use SSL' checkbox, and choose 'Password' in the 'Authentication' popup menu.

  6. The last step is to configure the special folders of the IMAP server. But first you have to retrieve the server's folder list. Click the 'OK' button of the 'Account Information' window to apply all these settings you've just configured. You can close the 'Preferences' window.

  7. In the main viewer window, you should now have your new account showing in the bottom of the Mailboxes panel. To retrieve its folders list, just click on the new FastMail account's inbox and wait a few seconds. If the list doesn't appear when you expand the FastMail account's display in the mailboxes panel, select the account, then choose the 'Synchronize Account' option in the 'Mailbox' Menu.

  8. Now you should see your FastMail folders in Mail.app. Select the 'Trash' folder in Mail.app and click 'Mailbox' -> 'Use Selected Mailbox For' -> 'Trash'. Repeat these steps for the 'Sent Items' folder. This will set up 'Sent Items' and 'Trash' as special folders synchronized with your FastMail account.

  9. Your IMAP setup is now complete. You can now use Mail to access all your e-mails in your FastMail account. You can read messages, and save downloads. You can move or copy messages, either between FastMail folders, or between FastMail and local folders on your home/work machine.

  10. Mail will use Inbox, Sent Items and Drafts in the same way as FastMail webmail. When you delete items however, they will not be deleted from the server. They will instead be moved to the Trash folder until you purge the trash folder. You can purge a folder by going to the 'Mailbox' menu and selecting 'Erase Deleted Messages'.

Other OS X Mail tips

  1. If you right-click on an IMAP account in OS X Mail and choose "Get Info", it will show a breakdown of your account, such as all the folders you have and how many messages and how much space is taken up by each folder, as well as your total quota and quota usage for your account.
  2. If you use multiple personalities, you can make OS X Mail use multiple from addresses as well.
    1. Open Mail and choose Mail > Preferences
    2. Click Accounts
    3. Select an account
    4. Enter all your addresses in the email address field, separated by commas. For example, webmaster@example.org, sales@example.org, support@example.org
    5. Close the Preferences window and click Save in the message that appears

Learning more about IMAP

IMAP is a powerful protocol that allows you keep to your email synchronised, whether you're at home, at work, at a friends place or an internet cafe. You don't have to worry about what computer the email is on, because all the email is kept on the server and each client sees the same 'view' of the email. See this FAQ page to learn more about IMAP

Troubleshooting Issues

There are currently no known troubleshooting issues with this client.

Last modified on: Sun June 22 12:17:20 UTC 2003