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Superuser
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Message 1 of 41 (7,339 Views)

Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

[ Edited ]

With people reporting being unable to send mail on an Ipad or Iphone I decided to have a closer look at how IOS manages it's email accounts.

Setting up.

As most users will know - provided Apple has the details for a domain in it's online database, then setting up an account is easy.

You simply provide the following information

1. Name of the account holder.
2. Email address.
3. Password.
4. Friendly account name - (defaults to email domain)

Using this information, the Ipad automatically configures.

  • Incoming mail server (POP3 or IMAP)
  • Outgoing Mail server (SMTP)  

The outgoing mail settings are added as the Primary for that email address and is also added as a secondary email server for any other IMAP/POP accounts should the main one fail.

Deleting an Account.

Apple, in their infinite wisdom have decided that when you delete an email account it only deletes the incoming server not the SMTP server.

Furthermore if you re-add the account, and it has an SMTP server set up for that specific email address it will re-associate the SMTP server as the primary server for that account.

Standard Advice is wrong.

The standard advice for Ipads/Iphones following a change in account password or to deal with a problem sending is to do the following.

1. Delete the account from the Ipad.
2. Recreate the account.

After all creating a new account is straightforward.   I've given this advice myself before now.  However based on the above information while this will fix INCOMING mail issues, it won't resolve OUTGOING mail issues.

Revised advice for managing sending problems/changing passwords

Based on my findings this is the advice for dealing with a change in email passwords for an email account on an IPad or Iphone.

  1. On the device tap settings.
  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars to see a list of accounts currently set up.
    
  3. Tap the name of the offending account you'll now see the account type and email address.
    
  4. Tap the email address to bring up the settings window.
    
    If you've changed your account password - enter the new password here.  HOWEVER if you can receive mail but not send you can leave this password alone.
  5. Tap the SMTP server to see the primary server and any other servers you have set up.
    
    The other SMTP servers are those servers associated with other email addresses.  I have two separate virginmedia.com accounts on the Ipad hence smtp.virginmedia.com appears twice, once as the Primary and once as an SMTP server for the account labeled Nest on my IPad.
  6. Tap the primary server to see the current settings.
    
    Delete and re-enter the correct password here.  Tap Done and the Ipad will attempt to connect and authenticate with the outgoing server.  If successful you'll be returned to the main account screen.
  7. Tap done on the main account screen.  If you edited the password earlier, then the Ipad will check the incoming settings and the settings window will close if this is successful.

Removing Unused SMTP Servers

If you have deleted an account and you want to remove the SMTP server completely from the IPad, then provided you have an additional POP3/IMAP account set up you can do the following.

Follow the steps above in another account to get to the list of smtp servers and tap the name of the server you want to remove.

As before you'll see the server settings but this time at the bottom you'll see a Delete Server option.


Tap this and the confirmation dialog to remove the server.

Note: If you have an incoming account associated with that server you will not be able to remove/modify the server settings.

So if you don't see the Delete option, make sure you've deleted the associated email account and try again.

FINAL NOTE:  IPhone's/Ipod Touches also use the exact same steps as above, although the screens may appear different  due to the limited space available on those devices.

Ravenstar68

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Superuser
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Message 2 of 41 (7,329 Views)

Re: Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

This is nothing short of genius. It should be book marked by every Apple device user on this Forum so they can find it when necessary - that is until the Mods have made this a sticky which I have asked them to do. Kudos to ravenstar68. If I could award him an OBE (Order of the Brilliant Explanation) I would. Oh what the... I just have.. 


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Superuser
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Message 3 of 41 (7,316 Views)

Re: Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

[ Edited ]

Thanks Howard

I'm also hoping the @ForumTeam will circulate this information to the call centres.

BTW this is how I came up with the above information if anyone wants to try it for themselves.

1. Add two IMAP email accounts to an Ipad, Iphone or Ipod touch  - it's easier if they are on separate domains, but even if they are on the same domain you can still check.
2. On one of the accounts head to my.virginmedia.com and change the password.
3. Delete the account on the Ipad.
4. Check the settings on the other account and see what other SMTP servers are listed.  If the domains are different it's easy to see the offending smtp server is still there.  However even if both servers use smtp.virginmedia.com you will see that the username and password's in the Primary and Other SMTP servers are different.
5. Without changing the settings on the SMTP server recreate the inbound account.  You will be able to receive but not send.

Now I'm off to see just how much of a Genius the people in the Apple Store in the Birmingham Bull Ring are.

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Superuser
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Message 4 of 41 (7,235 Views)

Re: Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

I went into the Apple store today to see if they could help me "fix" the issue.

The young lady tried the following.

1. Deleting the account and recreating it.  Still unable to send mails.

2. Googling the problem, which then bought up Virgin Media's help page.
http://help.virginmedia.com/system/selfservice.controller?CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE&ARTICLE_ID=10406&CURRENT_...

At which point she asked me if I'd tried changing my password.

She also advised that she was helping me out of courtesy as the problem was a Virgin Media one rather than an apple issue.  Quite frankly, I really hate buck passing.  So I explained to her EXACTLY what the issue was, and pointed out that there's nothing wrong with Virgin's setup and that the problem is actually caused by Apple's firmware.  On the plus side - her dad is apparently having the same issue and she now knows how to fix it for him Smiley Wink

I've also submitted a bug report feedback at Apple.  It will be interesting to see if they take any notice though.

My suggested fixes.

1. That Apple remove the SMTP server when deleting an account, OR
2. That the error dialog allows the user to enter a new SMTP password instead of just reporting a failure.

Ravenstar68

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Message 5 of 41 (7,155 Views)

Apple Mail - SMTP Server offline, some facts

I don't have a Mac so I've never had a chance to look at Apple's stock mail offering before now.

I decided to create a Hackintosh inside a virtual PC so I could take a closer look.  The OS was an old one, Mountain Lion.  But I did learn something.

1. When composing a mail it will tell you if the SMTP server is offline.
2. If the password for the SMTP server is wrong, the server will show as offline.
3. When you delete an IMAP or POP3 account, just like the IPad any SMTP servers are left on the system.
4. When you recreate a previously deleted account, just like the Ipad, existing SMTP server settings are re-linked with that account.

Clicking the server name on the compose mail screen will bring up an option to edit the SMTP server.  If the issue is a password one.  Sometimes all it takes is deleting the password and entering the correct one to make a server available.

Ravenstar68

 

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Superuser
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Message 6 of 41 (7,147 Views)

Re: Apple Mail - SMTP Server offline, some facts

Another part of the mystery solved so those of us who are not familiar with Apple software can better advise the not inconsiderable number of people who come here for help with Apple related SMTP errors (this time MAC mail) on how to put things right.

I think this ought to be a sticky as well and I will ask the Mods to consider.

Once again thanks (and kudos) to @ravenstar68 for all of his work on this issue. I hope the Forum Team will also feed this to CS so that phone callers do NOT get standard advice simply to delete and recreate - when it is clear that more can be involved to get things working again..

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Superuser
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Message 7 of 41 (7,141 Views)

Re: Apple Mail - SMTP Server offline, some facts

What annoys me is Apple's simplistic approach,  It evidently checks to see if the smtp server is online by connecting and authenticating with the server.

If the server can't be reached it shows as offline.
If the password is wrong it shows as offline - even when it's actually been talking to the server

Were I the guy programming Mac Mail, I would have distinguished between the two conditions.  The server sends back a 5xx error to the authentication attempt so why not offer to update the password, like most other mail programs do when a send fails with an authentication error?

Ravenstar68

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Superuser
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Message 8 of 41 (7,138 Views)

Re: Apple Mail - SMTP Server offline, some facts

I agree. But what is important is that your efforts have made visible what was obscure. The result of which by simply referring to your posts we can consistently guide users to what we hope will be a successful conclusion to their issues. We can also help them understand that their issues are with Apple and not with VM (heaven only knows that there are enough difficult VM e-mail issues to cope with not to add ones that aren't anything to do with VM at all).

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Message 9 of 41 (7,067 Views)

Re: Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

Rent problem with sending email, your recommendation has solved the problem.

Many thanks.

 

michhrr

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Message 10 of 41 (6,676 Views)

Re: Ipad/Iphone SMTP why deleting and recreating an account DOESN'T fix it.

I want to thank you for such an explicit explanation which finally solved my problem. I was beside myself and about to set up new email addresses with the consequent disruption that would start and about the chuck both devices (iPhone and iPad) out of the window. Point to note that this explanation works for BOTH devices.
Thanks again.
Oldmoondog