Apple Mail: A connection to the XYZ account could not be established - how to fix the error!

Apple Mail Tips and Tricks

Today a reader wrote to me that he got an error message on Apple Mail which he found very strange. Several years ago he had a mail account in Apple Mail, but it has been deleted for ages. Nevertheless, Apple Mail throws the following error message almost every day:

Unable to connect to account”online.de" getting produced. Enter your password...

Since the account has not existed in the mail program for a long time, it is puzzling why Apple Mail wants to establish a connection to the account at all. This email address can no longer be found in the settings and accounts and accordingly my reader does not know how to get rid of the error message.

Update 3.1.2019: As if the mail program suspected that I was writing about the topic ... today it throws me the error explained above, so that I can even provide a suitable screenshot for the error message! ;-)

Apple Mail error: A connection to the Sir Apfelot account could not be established. Please enter the password for user XYZ.
Apple Mail error: A connection to the Sir Apfelot account could not be established. Please enter the password for user XYZ.

Delete the account from the list of SMTP servers

Since I had a similar bug myself some time ago, I still knew where to look to fix the problem. The problem with Apple Mail is that it deletes the mail account, but still leaves the access to the SMTP server in the list of servers for outgoing mail. From my point of view, a bug that has been fixed for a long time, but Apple seems to see it differently.

So the solution to the problem is a little manual work in a sub-sub-menu that you certainly won't find if you don't know where to look. So that you know where to go, I have listed all menu items in the following list and made a screenshot in my Apple Mail. So you can see the corresponding buttons and know straight away whether you are correct.

Screenshot: Apple Mail> Edit list of SMTP servers.
Here in the screenshot you can see where you have to click in the Apple Mail settings to edit the list of SMTP servers.

The instruction

  1. Open Apple Mail.
  2. “Mail” menu item.
  3. Settings submenu.
  4. Click the "Accounts" button.
  5. Select any mail account on the left.
  6. Select “Server settings” in the following menu.
  7. At the point "Account for outgoing mails" click the selection field next to it.
  8. Select "Edit SMTP server list" at the bottom.
  9. Select the unused servers and logins in the list and delete them with the minus button.

When you are done, close the settings window and Apple Mail should no longer throw an error message from now on. You can see where the buttons from the instructions can be found in my screenshot, which I created under macOS Mojave.

If you have any questions or problems, please leave a comment!

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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25 Responses to "Apple Mail: Could not connect to account XYZ - how to fix it!"

  1. Thank you very much! I recently deleted an account and could not send anything despite the correct sender email. Thanks to you it works again now! It's nice that there are such people who share problems. Thanks again!

    1. Thank you very much, I was already desperate because the appearance of a disused office address was so annoying! Now, of course, there was immediate silence in the mail account.

  2. Will the email then be deleted? because I don't want that. I really want to fix the error, but keep my email! There are such important things on it: (((

    1. Hello Nesibe! No worries. If you follow the instructions, only the connection information to an old (wrong) mail server will be deleted. Your emails and the corresponding account remain untouched. But if you're concerned, backing up the Library > Mail folder never hurts. ;-)

      1. It still doesn't work :( he just doesn't take the password. I'm so desperate .. how can I get the password new :(

        1. Resetting the password has nothing to do with the error message. To understand the matter: Do you have problems receiving or sending emails? And which mail provider do you use (what is behind the @ in your mail address?)?

  3. Hello, I actually have another question. I received the same error message for two of my accounts, but I don't want to delete any of them. However, I cannot connect to the accounts because my passwords are allegedly incorrect. This amazes me a lot, as the passwords haven't changed recently. Or do other passwords have to be entered there? In the keychain management I can find some entries for my e-mail addresses. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Kim! You are not supposed to delete the accounts. What needs to be deleted is the entry for these accounts on the SMTP servers. The message comes because the passwords are not correct there. You can also create a new one directly (in the same window) and then re-enter the access data. At the moment, the entries won't help you anyway because they don't work. And don't worry about emails: if you delete the entries on the SMTP server, your emails will not be affected.

  4. Good day,
    I get the same error message with two of my four email addresses. Both are from the same provider. In the settings, both accounts appear as online with a green dot. I can send and receive emails. The latter, however, only after clicking on “Switch all accounts online”. It then loads any new mails, but the error message appears again immediately.
    I've had this problem before too. At that time I got rid of it by ticking “Allow insecure authentication”. Unfortunately, that no longer works. Despite saving, the tick has always disappeared and the error persists.
    Following their instructions, I deleted what I thought was an unused server. Unfortunately, that didn't help either.
    Thank you!

  5. I had the problem with a friend. The reason was that your GMX account and your Apple ID were the same email address!
    I then removed iCloud in System Settings -> Internet Accounts *, then it could be registered with GMX in AppleMail. Then added iCloud again in the system settings.

    * ATTENTION: she only used the iCloud to sync calendar and address data. I don't know what happens when you use it to manage data or photos... had had unpleasant experiences a long time ago because Apple quickly wanted to delete 'all data on the connected devices'!

    hih Felix

  6. She now had the problem again (that's how I came across this post). This time the solution was different: GMX had detected 'unusual activities' and asked the user to change the password. But you only saw that when you had dialed into the web interface of the mailbox via browser.

    So this resulted in the following sequence:
    - GMX would like that the password is first changed before access to the mail is granted
    - AppleMail tries to access, but this is unsuccessful because GMX does not let it through
    - In AppleMail there is no response that the password needs to be changed and the PW transmitted by AppleMail is not (no longer) accepted. Instead, AppleMail reports that the username and / or password are incorrect.

    So the solution is:
    - access the mailbox via browser
    - change the password
    - then
    either the new PW in AppleMail and in the
    System settings -> also change Internet accounts
    or in the browser in the mailbox settings
    switch back to the old password.

    Felix

  7. no chance, my gmail.account no longer accepts the password.
    should there really only be smtp.gmail.com at hostname?
    and connection setting hacking to manage automatically?
    Password: authentication?

    Best regards

  8. Hello I have the problem with my Macbook that I have to set up a new mail account due to the switch from pop3 to Imap. my provider is freenet mail.
    I can set up the account but then not go online. After entering the password, the message appears: A connection to the account "xxx" could not be established. Account name/password could not be verified.
    Strangely, the changeover on my Ipad and Iphone went completely without any problems.

  9. Hello Sir Apfelot,
    My problem is in parts identical to the other questions, but the hints so far do not really help me.
    I have 4 different e-mail addresses.
    Basically everyone is online. Checked the connections. There are no error messages.
    For a short time I have noticed that some e-mails (whether only with attachments, I can't say) do not appear at all (not even in spam), but other mails from the same sender arrive without attachments.
    At the same e-mail address, however, I continue to receive every e-mail from other senders, including an attachment.
    With 2 addresses I get the same message as described by “Magic”.
    2 addresses do not display this message.
    Very confused and helpless, can't remember changing anything.
    However, I have 2 locations, one location with a fairly old Mac where I recently set up Firefox.
    In the other location, however, I didn't install Firefox, the computer is much more up-to-date.
    Everything damn clear, right? I can already see your curled forehead.

    1. Haha! Yes, exactly: I have question marks on my forehead. : D But it sounds a bit as if the mails might be thrown out on the server side. Have you activated something there?

  10. Hello Sir Apfelot,

    I have almost the same problem: Yesterday evening the message appeared in Mail, “A connection to the account AOL.de could not be established. Account name/password could not be verified."
    I have already changed my PW online on AOL.de, then in the keychain on the incoming and outgoing mail server, but nothing happens. The same message keeps coming back!
    I do not understand because I have changed absolutely NOTHING !!! Since I got the AOL account, I haven't changed my PW. Today for the first time to test this path. Unfortunately without success.
    But I also have the problem on my two iPhones (each XR) and the MBP from the end of 2011, mac OS High Sierra (newer doesn't work anymore).
    Can you help me with that? I would be infinitely grateful to you ????????????
    Tatjana

    1. Hello Tatiana! This is of course a bit difficult over the network, but if all your devices have the message, then something has certainly changed at AOL. I would ask their support if anything has been done on the technology in the last few days. Unfortunately, I'm not in AOL myself and have no idea about it.

  11. Hartmut Teichmann

    Hey Jens,
    When I saw Tatjana's description of the problem, I initially thought "like me". :-)
    The only difference for me is that everything is OK on my Ipad and my Iphone, only the Imac has said goodbye to my AOL mailing.
    Everything went smoothly so far (until April 2021).
    I have already completed all the standard attempts (deleting and re-creating the mail account/correcting the password in the keychain). The message "account/password could not be checked" still appears.
    Do you have another idea?

    Greetings Hartmut

    1. Hello Hartmut! I have no idea, but I would take a look at the outgoing mail servers. Sometimes the error message comes from there while the mail retrieval goes without problems.

  12. Moin, I have had this error message for a few days. But then at some point I noticed that I had put a typo in the email address. But I couldn't find anything in the accounts. Thanks to your instructions, I found the place where I mortgaged the error and was now able to solve my problem

    Thank you!

    Regards
    Michael

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