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If your Mac is connected to the Internet but suddenly starts asking for your password, you should generally try again later, and if necessary work with your email provider to resolve. If you're using Apple's iCloud Mail, learn how to resolve issues with iCloud Mail.

Why is Mail asking for your password?

Mail asks for your password when it is connecting to your email provider, but can't connect to your email account because your email provider isn't accepting your email password.

Your email provider may reject your password for several reasons, including:

  • You're not using your current email password. If you updated the password on another device, make sure that you're using the same password on your Mac.
  • Your email provider needs you to update or reset your password for security reasons. For example, if you're using Google’s two-step verification, your Gmail account in Mail requires the appropriate app-specific password.
  • Your email provider deactivated or suspended your account. Contact your email provider for help.

Check your password in Internet Accounts preferences

Depending on the type of email account you're using, you might be able to correct the password as follows:

  1. Quit Mail. If it doesn't quit, you can force it to quit.
  2. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Internet Accounts.
  3. Select your mail account in the sidebar.
  4. If you see a password field for your account, delete the password and type the correct password.
  5. Close System Preferences, then open Mail and try using your account again.

If Mail still asks for your password, the password is probably incorrect. Your email provider can help you verify your email settings and make sure that you're using the correct password.

Test using webmail

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Many email providers offer webmail, which is a way to use email with a web browser such as Safari, instead of with an email app such as Mail. For example, if you're using an iCloud Mail account, you can use iCloud.com to send and receive email.

Because the password that you use with Mail is usually the same password that you use with webmail, try signing in to webmail with that password. If it doesn't work there either, your password is probably incorrect. Your email provider can help you verify your email settings and make sure that you're using the correct password for the Mail app.

Remove your account, then add it back

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If no other solutions work, try setting up your email account again. To do that, first remove your email account, then add the account back.

Learn more

  • If you're using Apple's iCloud Mail, learn how to resolve issues with iCloud Mail. The password that you use with iCloud Mail is your Apple ID password. Learn what to do if you forgot your Apple ID password or want to change your Apple ID password.
  • If you forgot or want to change the email password for a different email service, contact the email provider or request a password reset from their website.

Add an email account

If you haven't already set up an email account in Mail, you might be prompted to add one when you open the app. If you're not prompted, or you just want to add another account, follow these steps:

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  1. From the menu bar in Mail, choose Mail > Add Account.
  2. Select your email provider from the list, then click Continue.
  3. Some accounts, such as Google, might ask that you click Open Browser to complete authentication in your web browser.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to enter account details, such as your name, email address, and password. If you're not sure what information to enter, please contact your email provider for help.

Use the Inbox for each account

The Inbox gathers together the messages for every email account you added. If you added more than one account, you can click the disclosure triangle next to Inbox in the sidebar, then select a mailbox to see only the messages for that account.

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Mail

Optional: Turn on other account features

If your account includes support for contacts, calendars, notes, or other features in addition to email, you can turn those features on or off:

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Internet Accounts.
  2. Select your account in the sidebar.
  3. Select the features you want to use with your account.