Apple’s app for sending emails is Mail. Mail is included with macOS so you’ll find the app on every Mac. You’ll also find the same app on your iPad and iPhone. It’s a great alternative to using a web browser to access your various different emails such as Gmail and iCloud mail. In fact, one of the best things about using Mail is that you can set it up to receive all your emails from all your different email accounts in the one place so you only need to use one app and you will never miss an email again.

In this article we’ll explain the steps you need to follow to set up email on your Mac or MacBook, including how to add a second email.

To start, as a bit of an overview we’ll list some of the reasons why we use Mail on our Macs.

Here are some of the benefits of using Mail:

  • You set up Mail to receive emails from all the different email addresses you use, including your work email and your personal email, so you can read and send all your emails in the same place.
  • It works with popular email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook and obviously Apple’s iCloud so it’s really easy to set up. It also supports Exchange.
  • You can add and mark up attachments - for example you can email a photo or PDF which includes instructions you have ‘drawn on’.
  • It integrates with other macOS apps such as Calendar and Maps.
  • You can send large files and folders as attachments and Apple’s Mail app will automatically send the recipient a download link.
  • It’s really easy to block senders and unsubscribe from mailing lists.
  • You can mute group conversations when they become too distracting.
  • You can organise your emails into Mailboxes that abide by certain rules, such as unread or received today, or from particular people.
  • You can Flag your messages with a different coloured flag to make finding certain groups of emails easier.
  • It is easy to search through all your emails.

Email with markup

To find the Mail app on your Mac or MacBook press Command + Space Bar and start to type Mail or click on the Mail icon in the Dock.

How to set up Mail on your Mac

It’s really easy to set up email on a Mac or MacBook, especially if you use one of the more popular services, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or, obviously, Apple’s own iCloud. All you need is your email address and log in details. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Internet Accounts
  3. On the right you’ll see a list of commonly used services including iCloud, Exchange, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and more. If you don’t see these, click on the + sign.

Add email to Mac

You can also add an email account directly from within Apple Mail, in fact the first time you open Mail it will prompt you to do so.

  1. Open Mail.
  2. Click on Mail in the menu and choose Accounts, this opens the same screen as you access through Systems Preferences.
  3. If you wish to disassociate or turn off any of these accounts you can select them and click on the minus (-) on this page.

We’ll run through how to set up the various kinds of email accounts below:

How to add iCloud email to Mac Mail

If you set up an iCloud account when you first configured your Mac, you'll probably see an iCloud entry on the left. This should mean your iCloud email already appears in your Mail app. However, if not this is what you need to do.

  1. If you see this iCloud section on the left click on it.
  2. Check that there is a tick in the box beside Mail. This will make sure you receive your iCloud emails in the Mail app.

If you don’t see an iCloud section follow these steps:

  1. Click on the +.
  2. Now choose iCloud from the right hand side.
  3. Next you need to sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID. (If you don’t already have one click on Create Apple ID).
  4. Wait while your Mac signs in and sets up your iCloud email account in Mail.

How to add Gmail to Mac Mail

If you have a Gmail account it’s easy to set it up.

  1. Click on Google.
  2. If you see a message that you need to use a web browser click on Open Browser.
  3. This will open your Google account - just log in as you would usually.
  4. You’ll see a message that macOS wants to access your Google Account, confirm that this is ok by clicking on Allow.
  5. Now you’ll be directed back to System Preferences where you need to confirm if apps such as Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Notes should use the account. Make sure that Mail is selected.
  6. Now you will be able to send and receive Gmail emails in the Mail app.

Add gmail to Mac Mail

If you have a Yahoo! Aol, Microsoft Exchange account it is similarly simple to add it.

How to add another email account

You can add multiple email accounts this way. Just click on + and keep on adding your various email details as above.

How to add an email manually

If your email provider isn't one of the ones listed by Apple, it is still possible to add it.

For example, if you have a Hotmail account it's a little bit more complex to add, we cover this here: How to set up Hotmail on a Mac.

To add your email details manually follow these steps:

  1. On your Mac open Mail.
  2. Click on Mail > Add Account.
  3. A window will open with the iCloud, Exchange and other options and Other Mail Account…
  4. Select Other Mail Account…
  5. Click on Continue.
  6. Now add your Email Address and Password and click Sign In.
  7. You will see details such as Account Type and Incoming Mail Server and Outgoing Mail Server. If you have to enter the settings manually, choose IMAP or POP (probably IMAP, but check with your provider).
  8. Add the Incoming Mail Server and Outgoing Mail Server details (get them from your email provider).
  9. Tap Save. You may need to obtain these from your email provider.
  10. Assuming the email is still active it will be able to verify your account and you will be able to Sign In.

Add Hotmail to Mac Mail


POP downloads the emails onto your Mac while IMAP leaves them on the server. So IMAP is generally preferred.

If you are wondering whether there is a free email program that's better than Mail read: Best free alternatives to Mail on the Mac.

We also cover how to set up email on iPad and iPhone here.

Here's How to stop spam in Mac Mail and our guide to setting up an Out of Office in Mail on the Mac.