Apple Mail – Unable to send or receive

Send & Receive issues are the most complex to troubleshoot. There are many variables that need to be checked. Usually when messages are not sending or receiving, it’s a result of Mail not remembering your password. You can check in Connection Doctor. Under Window in the Menu bar, select Connection Doctor.

connection doctor

You will see green to indicate a connection and red to show there is a problem. You want to see all green symbols.

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Use new User to test for problems

Your Home folder is your main User folder. Your Mac can have multiple User folders so each individual can have their own private personal space. You can also create a new test User for troubleshooting your Mac.

Troubleshooting is a process of elimination. Testing in a new User will quickly tell you if the problem is system wide or if it’s your User’s folder that contains the problem.

A new User will put you in the default setting and preferences with no conflicts from other applications that might be launched automatically in your User’s folder.


Go to System Preferences > Create a New User in Accounts (Users & Groups). Switch to the New User by logging out under the Apple in the Menu bar or use Fast User Switching.

You will not see the icon in the Dock for non Apple applications. Simply go to the Applications folder to open or drag to the Dock.

If you need to test specific data in the new User, place data in the Shared folder first.

Your Hard Drive/Users/Shared






Data in the Shared folder can be accessed by the new User. After you log into the new test User, drag from Shared (it actually copies) your data and place it on the Desktop for easy access.

Remember to drag your data back from Shared for access in your regular User after testing. This is especially important if you are testing your Entourage or Outlook Identity. If not, when you open Entourage or Outlook, it will open in a new blank Identity.

Any POP mail you download into the Identity in the test User will not be available unless you set to “leave on server” in Account > Advanced settings/Server.

Do you still see the issue?

If yes, then the problem is with your base files.
If no, then the problem is in your User’s folder.

If the problem exists in the new User, it could be the application or OS X files. See this link for further testing options.  There are specific instructions for Microsoft Office testing but it includes general troubleshooting tips. If you need personal help you can contact me for private help. See my rates here.

For free help you can ask on the forums:

Apple Discussions

Microsoft Office for Mac Forums