It’s really easy to set up email on a Mac, iPad or iPhone. Apple’s email software Mail can automatically set up your email 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.

How to set up Mail on your Mac

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Internet Accounts
  3. If you set up an iCloud account when you first configured your Mac, you'll see an iCloud entry on the left
  4. On the right is 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.
  5. If you have a Gmail account, for example, it’s easy to set it up here. Just click on Google and sign in with your usual details.
  6. Choose the apps you wish to use with the account (it’s not just email, you can also sync your Contacts and Calendars, for example).
  7. Now open Mail and you should find you emails are there.

If you have a Hotmail account its a little bit more complex, we cover this here: How to set up Hotmail on a 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. Go go Mail > Accounts, this opens the same screen as you access through Systems Preferences.

If you wish to disassociate or turn off any of these accounts you can select them and click on the minus (-) on this page.

Read how to set up iCloud on a Mac, iPad or iPhone, and Windows PC.

How to set up email on an iPhone or iPad

  1. Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts
  2. Tap on Add Account
  3. Choose from the list of commonly used services including iCloud, Exchange, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and Other.
  4. If you are adding a Google account, for example, Sign in with your Gmail details.
  5. If your email isn’t one of the service listed you can click Other to add it manually, more on that below.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Now open Mail. To access the emails click on the email address listed under Mailboxes.

If you wish to stop seeing emails from this account, go back to Settings > Accounts, click on the email address and then choose Delete Account.

If you'd prefer your emails to appear under a pseudonym, here's how to change the email sender name in Apple Mail.

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.

  1. On an iOS device click on Account > Other > Add Mail Account
  2. On a Mac click System Preferences > Internet Accounts > Add Ather Account
  3. Add name, email address and password, you can also add an account description
  4. Tap Next, Mail may be able to find the settings and add them for you, if not you will need to add them manually
  5. If you have to enter the settings manually, choose IMAP or POP (probably IMAP, but check with your provider).
  6. Add the Incoming Mail Server and Outgoing Mail Server details (get them from your email provider).
  7. Tap Save.

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 have advice about How to stop spam in Mac Mail, and some of the best alternatives to Mail for Mac users. We also have this guide to setting up an Out of Office in Mail on the Mac.