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Unable to send mail from iMac


Topic starter

I get the error :

The sender address"> was rejected by the server

The server response was: Authentication required prior to MAIL/SAML/SEND/SOML

When I click on "edit SMTP server list", the list is empty. 

I can receive mail from the iCloud IMAP server. Also I am able to send mail via iCloud with my iPhone and via using safari on my Mac. I have tried signing out of and into my iCloud account. Apple support says they are aware of the problem.  🤔  

Any ideas?

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6 Answers

If Apple Support have acknowledged the problem is at the iCloud server end there might not be much you can do. Would depend on whether they think it is a problem for a few hours or a few weeks?

But possibly you could try manually configuring an SMTP server (using settings as per  ) though note that if you have iCloud 2 factor authentication turned on you might have to create an app specific password to get that to work.

Topic starter

Thanks Graham. I just wondered why my wife's computer on using the same SMTP server from the same router has no problem. I also have developed the persistent reminder problem described here over the same time period. I suspect iCloud weirdness, but can't begin to understand the problem.

I certainly agree that when Apple says they are aware, it may boil down to waiting.


Jeffersonton, VA


From the error message you're seeing I believe the problem is somehow related to the mail server not recognising, or not receiving, the "authentication token" that is stored in your Mac's keychain. Given that you have signed out & back in to iCloud I would assume your Mac has therefore been given a new valid token and, again, that it is a problem at the server end. (But could be a strange glitch in macOS.)

The algorithm for which actual server in the Apple ecosystem deals with which account is unknown but it is quite possible the accounts of you & your wife are being routed to different authentication servers.

PS. Moving this thread into the "Mac Questions" forum.


"When I click on "edit SMTP server list", the list is empty. "

I've resolved this by removing and re-adding the account. Have you tried that yet?

I was going to suggest the same.

iCloud uses IMAP so removing the email account and adding it back will not cause any issue because your email messages and all the activity is on the server. In other words when open mail, you are actually facing a mirror of what exists on the server.

With respect to some of the details in the original question, what you see in Mail is really what is on a server, so deleting the account and adding it back can help. It is important to keep in mind that issue may be server side, which mail relies on, so use Apple's System Status to understand is one of Apple's cloud services are the root cause.

The other thing, particular to the Apple Mail application on the Mac is the Connection Doctor. Type that from Mail's help menu and you will be pointed to the menu where you can trigger it. Learn more about connection doctor and how and when to use it. It's a useful tool when troubleshooting Apple's Mail on the Mac, of course check the System Status page because if a service Mail relies on is down on the server Connection Doctor won't be able to tell you too much so check System Status first and then Connection Doctor.

Although your issue is resolved, which is great, I hope these extra tidbits will help someone along who stumbles here.


Topic starter

I have. A message reports "this account already exists."


I don't know whether going down this line is going to help, but when I encounter the "account already exists" message I instead create an account with a slightly different ID (eg. add an x at the end) and when it protests that the user name or password is incorrect tell it to create the account anyway. Then you can go back and alter the account ID (eg. by removing the x) and it should proceed to just do verification without invoking the "already exists" text.

Already exists? Do you have an existing account in your Internet Accounts pane signed in with this address? I've found what works with that message is to completely remove all accounts with that name, then re-add starting from the iCloud address.

I really think that you should contact Apple Support again with regards your case and get a better description of the actual underlying problem - given they've said they are "aware" of it. That description along with any timeline they can provide on a fix (hours/days/months) will help determine a strategy.

Topic starter

I was able to send email today. Not sure this will last. It certainly seems like a low-profile fix by Apple. I notice throughout my problem the status of email on the iCloud site was green. Glad it wasn't my electric service.

A great way to check email is to send an email to yourself. Why you might ask? Well, it has to go out and back again, performing the fundamental role of mail — sending and receiving email.

If it stops working chime back.