How to Change the Password in Mac Mail

By David Weedmark

Using the Mail app on an Apple computer, you can access any email account, including iCloud, Gmail or your work email. Whenever you change your account password with an email provider, the Mail app should prompt you to enter that new password as soon as you launch Mail. If you are using two-step verification with your email account -- in which you connect your account to a cell phone for better security -- you may find your new password is rejected. If this happens, you need to create a special password specifically for the Mail app on your Mac computer.

Changing the Mail Password

Step 1

Change your email account password on the mail server. For most Web-based email services, like Gmail or Outlook.com, you can do this online by logging in to your account and changing the password for your profile. If you use iCloud email, its password is the same as your Apple ID, so log in to the Apple ID website (see Resources) and follow the onscreen instructions to change your Apple ID password. If it's an email account at work, contact your network administrator for guidance.

Step 2

Launch the Mail app on your Mac computer. Mail asks you to enter your new password as soon as it tries to connect with the mail server. Enter the new password as prompted and click "OK." In most cases, this is all you have do do.

Step 3

Click the "Mail" menu and select "Preferences" if you accidentally hit "Cancel" when changing your password or if you disabled the account in Mail. Click the "Accounts" icon, select the email account you want to change and then click the "Account Information" tab. Delete the dots in the Password field and enter the new password. Click the red "Close" button in the upper-right corner. The new password is saved automatically.

Two-Step Verification Passwords

Step 1

Launch a new Web browser window and go to the password and security page of your email account. The name and location can vary with each email service. If you use Outlook.com, click your Profile name, select "Account Settings" and then click "Security & Password." For Gmail, navigate to Google's Apps Passwords page (see Resources) and log in with your Gmail account. If you set up two-step verification with Yahoo Mail, go to your Account Info page and select "App Passwords."

Step 2

Create an app-specific password for the Mail app on your Mac computer using the onscreen instructions. After the password is generated, highlight it and press "Command-C" to copy it. This password is different than the password you would use in a Web browser and can't be used on any other app or computer. It's usually longer, more complex and, because you need to enter it in the Mail app only once, there is no reason to write it down.

Step 3

Launch the Mail app. When prompted for the password, delete the old password and paste the new app-specific password in its place by pressing "Command-V." The Mail app will remember this password each time you launch it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Passwords in the Mail app are case-sensitive, so make sure the Caps Lock is off before typing.
  • Always ensure you use a strong password. Google recommends using a different password for every account you have. Change your password frequently. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, without personal information or common words.
  • When you change your password for an account, you need to change the password for other services associated with it. For example, if you change your Apple ID password, all iCloud services, the Apple App Store and any iOS devices will need that new password too.
  • An app-specific password works only for one app on one computer. If you have more than one Mac, you should generate additional passwords for those apps too.