Apple Mail Offline SMTP Gmail Outgoing Mail Account

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Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: macOS | View Comments

Offline SMTP accounts in Apple Mail

Yesterday I helped a friend who had a problem where her outgoing email account (SMTP server) for a Gmail based email account kept appearing "Offline" right after she set it up. Even adding the SMTP server manually in Mail didn't help.

You shouldn’t need to do any of the custom SMTP setup within Mail to get a Gmail based email account working in macOS. Now Gmail accounts should be setup just through "Internet Accounts" in the System Preferences, and the SMTP will be setup automatically.

Removing the account and setting it up again should take care of the issue.

If your SMTP server / Outgoing Mail Account constantly appears "Offline", here's how to fix it:

  1. Close Mail if it's open now.

  2. Click the Apple menu (upper left corner of your screen) > System Preferences > Internet Accounts.

  3. Select the account with the broken outgoing mail server, and then click the minus sign at the bottom.

  4. Reboot your Mac.

  5. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet Accounts.

  6. Click Google, and sign into your Gmail based account again.

Update February 26, 2018:

If you're email is still not working after this, in Mail open the Mail menu > Preferences > Accounts and select your Gmail account. Ensure that the little checkbox for Enable this account is checked.


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16 Comments



  • Pam Engebretson April 4, 2019

    Thank you Kelly!-- FIXED. My head was about to explode.

  • Bob Jacobson

    Bob Jacobson February 2, 2019

    This problem and ones like it have been troubling Mac users ever since Apple Mail came on the scene. It's a kludge with parts that don't exactly work well together -- and just when you think you have a solution, another part breaks. Time perhaps to use another mail system?

  • walshwhizz@xtra.co.nz September 9, 2018

    really useless - need to back up email before you do anything as lost everything including all saved emails.

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW September 9, 2018

      Hi walshwhizz,

      For most email setups, your emails should still be on your IMAP server, rather than stored locally on your computer. If you go to the Gmail web interface, are your emails still there?

  • M Fitz July 7, 2018

    Thanks for the help. I have been working on this all day! Finally, I found this. Easy fix! Phew!

  • Rona Gindin

    Rona Gindin July 7, 2018

    All of these have worked for me in the past, but they're not working now. Sometimes just opening gmail in Chrome works, but not this time. Do you have any other ideas?

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW July 7, 2018

      Hi Rona,

      What version of macOS are you running (Apple Menu > About This Mac > Version number)? I want to make sure we brainstorm for the right version of Apple Mail.

      • Rona Gindin

        Rona Gindin July 7, 2018

        Thanks so much, Kelly. I have 10.13.5 (17F77). Usually if I wait a couple of hours the gmails start coming through, but they haven't this time. And, I have (rarely used) other gmail accounts, and those are online.

        • Rona Gindin

          Rona Gindin July 7, 2018

          And, suddenly it all works, after hours and hours.

          • Kelly HW

            Kelly HW July 7, 2018

            I'm glad it's working!

            • Rona Gindin

              Rona Gindin July 7, 2018

              In case this helps you help others: I decided to write an important letter in Apple Mail only because I prefer the format to that on the Gmail website. The problem fixed itself after I initiated writing the email.

  • Anthony Longjas June 6, 2018

    This works! Upgraded to high sierra this week and had the outgoing mail server problem. Thanks for the help!

  • KayKay

    KayKay May 5, 2018

    I have tried everything. Nothing works. Help!

  • David Theo February 2, 2018

    This solved the problem, although I had to do a second step that was not described, and that was to click on the small box in the Accounts Preferences labeled "Enable this account". Once I did that, it was back to normal.

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW February 2, 2018

      Hi David,

      I will add this into the instructions! Thank you for mentioning this!

  • Josh Wooler

    Josh Wooler February 2, 2018

    Still not working, so annoying.
    I'm sure I'll eventually figure it out.