How to set up Hotmail on a Mac

Microsoft Hotmail was a very popular email service, but Microsoft discontinued it in favour of Outlook back in 2013, as a result it can be tricky to sync your Hotmail account with your Mac if you are still using it. But luckily, it's not impossible as we show you in this tutorial.

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  • Use your old Hotmail address in Mac Mail 1
  • Is your Hotmail account active? 2
  • Hotmail or Outlook web mail 3
  • Linking Hotmail to Outlook.com 4
  • Create a new Outlook.com email address 5
  • Create multiple email addresses 6
  • Resurrect old email Hotmail addresses 7
  • Adding Hotmail or Outlook accounts to Mail 8
  • Add Hotmail Account to Mail 9
  • Configure your Hotmail account in Mac Mail using IMAP 10
  • More stories
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Step 1 of 10: Use your old Hotmail address in Mac Mail

Microsoft officially discontinued its Hotmail email service back in 2013, yet millions of people have still got old Hotmail accounts that they may still want to use, and old emails that they want to keep.

The good news is that you may still be able to use your old Hotmail address with the newer Outlook.com service that replaced Hotmail. The Outlook service also replaced other Microsoft email services, such as Windows Live and MSN, so you may be able to use those addresses as well. I mostly use my iCloud mail address these days, but I still have an old Hotmail address that gets the occasional email, so I like to check in every now and then to make sure I don’t miss anything important.

The bad news is that if you haven’t used your Hotmail account at all for more than 270 days then Microsoft’s terms and conditions allow it to make the account inactive – and it may be deleted altogether. But, if your Hotmail account still exists, then there are a number of options for getting it back into action. You can log into your Hotmail account using a web browser on any Mac or PC, but we’ll also show you how to set it up using Apple Mail on your Mac as well.

This article was originally written in 2015, where the information is still relevant today for those who are still wanting to use an old Hotmail with Mac Mail.

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Microsoft officially discontinued its Hotmail email service back in 2013, yet millions of people have still got old Hotmail accounts that they may still want to use, and old emails that they want to keep.

The good news is that you may still be able to use your old Hotmail address with the newer Outlook.com service that replaced Hotmail. The Outlook service also replaced other Microsoft email services, such as Windows Live and MSN, so you may be able to use those addresses as well. I mostly use my iCloud mail address these days, but I still have an old Hotmail address that gets the occasional email, so I like to check in every now and then to make sure I don’t miss anything important.

The bad news is that if you haven’t used your Hotmail account at all for more than 270 days then Microsoft’s terms and conditions allow it to make the account inactive – and it may be deleted altogether. But, if your Hotmail account still exists, then there are a number of options for getting it back into action. You can log into your Hotmail account using a web browser on any Mac or PC, but we’ll also show you how to set it up using Apple Mail on your Mac as well.

This article was originally written in 2015, where the information is still relevant today for those who are still wanting to use an old Hotmail with Mac Mail.

 

Step 2 of 10: Is your Hotmail account active?

The quickest way to find out if your Hotmail account is still active is to go to www.hotmail.com. That address doesn’t actually exist anymore, so you’ll automatically be redirected to the newer Outlook web site, and prompted to enter the details of your Microsoft Account. That’s a little bit misleading, as you can actually have separate Microsoft and Hotmail accounts.

But we’re in Hotmail mode right now, so just type in your Hotmail address and password and then keep your fingers crossed to see if your account is still active.

 

Step 3 of 10: Hotmail or Outlook web mail

The Outlook web site gives you a typical web-mail interface, with options for reading, writing and organising your emails. If – like me – you haven’t used your Hotmail account for a while then you’ll see a Welcome email with advice on how to get started with the new Outlook.com service, and how to import emails and contact info from other email services.

You can link Outlook.com to most email accounts that use the IMAP email system, which includes Gmail and Yahoo Mail – and even iCloud – but iCloud has its own web browser interface so we’re not too worried about that.

 

Step 4 of 10: Linking Hotmail to Outlook.com

Microsoft wants you to ditch your old email accounts and use Outlook, so every now and then you’ll see a prompt at the bottom of the screen encouraging you to ‘Add an Outlook.com email address’. It’s probably worth doing this now, as it looks like Outlook will be Microsoft’s main email system in the future.

There’s also a way of linking your old Hotmail address to the new Outlook address. That will allow you to use both addresses at the same time, and gives you the option of gradually winding down your Hotmail address and eventually switching completely over to Outlook.com in the future.

[Read: Office for Mac is out now | UK pricing announced for 'boxed copy' and Office 365 subscriptions]

 

Step 5 of 10: Create a new Outlook.com email address

To create a new Outlook.com email address you just need to click on the icon by your name in the top-right corner of the browser window. That displays a pull-down menu that contains a number of different options relating to your account. Click on Account Settings to view your account details.

When the Account page opens up you need to click on the tab marked ‘Your Info’ near the top of the screen, then click on ‘Manage Your Sign-In Email or Phone Number’. On the next page, just click ‘Add email’.

 

Step 6 of 10: Create multiple email addresses

This is where things get interesting – but also a little complicated. You can create multiple email addresses – known as ‘aliases’ - that are linked to your Outlook.com account. Any emails sent to any of those addresses or aliases will go straight into the same inbox, so you can use different email addresses when writing to different people but the replies will always go into the same inbox (unless you specify otherwise).

To maintain continuity with our old address, we’ll create a new Outlook email address – macworlduk@outlook.com - that is similar to our old Hotmail address.

 

Step 7 of 10: Resurrect old email Hotmail addresses

There’s another really interesting option here as well. We mentioned that unused Hotmail accounts can be deleted by Microsoft after 270 days, but it’s actually possible to resurrect old email addresses if you click on the option marked ‘Add an existing email address as a Microsoft account alias’.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how this works – but I entered an old Hotmail address that was no longer working because I hadn’t used it in years, and somehow it came back to life. It doesn’t have to be a Hotmail address either, as you can use other types of email address here as well.

 

Step 8 of 10: Adding Hotmail or Outlook accounts to Mail

So far we’ve just used the email features found on the Outlook.com web site, using Safari on our Mac. These web features work ok, but you’ll probably want to switch over to using Apple Mail on your Mac at some point – especially as the Outlook.com web site hits you with annoying ads every time you log in.

Adding Hotmail or Outlook accounts to Mail is straightforward – as long as you have the correct information about mail servers and settings. Fortunately, Apple helps out here – just go to https://www.apple.com/support/mail-settings-lookup/ - and type in your email address, and Apple will give you all the info you need. Just add your email address and you'll see exactly what incoming and outcoming server hostname, pots and authentication you will require.

 

Step 9 of 10: Add Hotmail Account to Mail

Now you can just launch Mail, and select Add Account from the main Mail pull-down menu.

Click on ‘Add Other Mail Account’ and then enter the details of your Hotmail or Outlook account into the window that appears.

Press the Alt (or Option) button on your keyboard and when you see the ‘Next’ button appear you can enter the server information that we just got from the Apple web site.

Click ‘Next’ to keep adding information, and your old Hotmail or new Outlook email account will be up and running inside Mail on your Mac in no time at all.

Read next: Email tips for Mac Mail | Outlook vs Apple Mail for iOS | iOS Mail tips  | How to set up Gmail on a Mac

 

Step 10 of 10: Configure your Hotmail account in Mac Mail using IMAP

Open Mail and select Mail from the menu bar

Go to Accounts

Click +

Add Other Account > Mail account

Click Continue.

Type your name beside Name (make sure it's how you would want others to see it as it is what will appear in their inboxes.

Type your Hotmail address (e.g., "example@hotmail.com") beside Email Address:.

Type your Windows Live Hotmail password under Password

Click Sign in

In Account Type select IMAP

Mail should automatically fill in the incomming and outgoing server details as follows:

imap-mail.outlook.com

smtp-mail.outlook.com

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