Chapter 19. Mail and Address Book Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium.

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Chapter 19. Mail and Address Book Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium.

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Chapter 19. Mail and Address Book Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium. In fact, these days, anyone who doesn't have an email address is considered some kind of freak.

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  1. Chapter 19. Mail and Address Book Email is a fast, cheap, convenient communication medium. In fact, these days, anyone who doesn't have an email address is considered some kind of freak. If you do have an email address or two, you'll be happy to discover that Mac OS X includes Mail, a program that lets you get and send email messages without having to wade through a lot of spam (junk mail). Mail is a surprisingly complete program, redesigned for Mac OS 10.5, and it's filled with shortcuts and surprises around every turn. And this desktop post office offers more than just mail—among other things, you can also use the program as a personal notepad and a newsreader for your favorite Web sites. Not bad for a freebie, eh? 19.1. Setting Up Mail What you see the first time you open Mail may vary. If you've signed up for a .Mac account (and typed its name into the .Mac pane of System Preferences), you're all ready to go; you see the message viewer window described on Section 19.2.1. If you don't get the offer to set up an account, choose File Add Account to jumpstart the process. (That's also how you add other accounts later.) If you get your mail from some other service provider, like Verizon, Comcast, Gmail, Yahoo, or whatever, Mail setup is almost as easy. Apple has rounded up the acronymladen server settings for 30 popular mail services and built them right in. All you have to do is type your mail name and password into the box (Figure 19-1). If eMail recognizes the suffix (for example,, and if "Automatically set up account" is turned on, then Mail does the heavy lifting for you. Figure 19-1. Leopard Mail takes the pain, agony, and acronyms out of setting up an email account on your Mac. Forget about remembering your SMTP server address (or even what SMTP stands for), and just type your email address and password into the box. If you use a mainstream mail provider like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Comcast, or Verizon, Mail configures your account settings automatically after you click the Create button.
  2. Now, if you use a service provider that Mail doesn't recognize when you type in your email name and password—you weirdo—then you have to set up your mail account the long way. Mail prompts you along, and you confront the dialog boxes shown in Figure 19-2, where you're supposed to type in various settings to specify your email account. Some of this information may require a call to your Internet service provider (ISP). Here's the rundown: • Account Typeis where you specify what flavor of email account you have. See the box on Section 19.2 for details; check with your ISP if you're not sure which type you have. • Account Descriptionis for your reference only. If you want an affectionate nickname for your email account, type it here. • Full Name(shown in Figure 19-1) will appear in the "From:" field of any email you send. Type it just the way you'd like it to appear. • Email Addressis the address you were assigned when you signed up for Internet services, such as • Incoming Mail Server, Outgoing Mail Serverare where you enter the information your ISP gave you about its mail servers. Usually, the incoming server is a POP3 server and its name is related to the name of your ISP, such as Figure 19-2. These dialog boxes let you plug in the email settings provided by your ISP. If you want to add another email account later, choose File Add Account, and then enter your information in the resulting dialog box. (Or, if you like doing things the hard way, choose Mail Preferences Accounts tab, click the + in the lower-left corner of the window, and enter your account information in the fields on the right.) The outgoing mail server (also called the SMTP server) usually looks something like • Outlook Web Access Serverappears only if you choose Exchange for the Account Type. You can get the name of this server (also known as an Internet Information Server, or IIS) from your network administrator. • User Name, Password. Enter the name and password provided by your ISP. (Often, they're the same for both incoming and outgoing servers.)
  3. Click Continue when you're finished. Mail can also import your email collection from an email program you've used before— Entourage, Thunderbird, Netscape/Mozilla, Eudora, or even a version of Mac OS X Mail that's stored somewhere else (say, on an old Mac's hard drive). Importing is a big help in making a smooth transition between your old email world and your new one. Figure 19-3. If you go to File Import Mailboxes, Mail offers to import your old email collection from just about any other Mac email program (top). You can even specify which email folders you want to import (bottom). When the importing process is finished—and it can take a very long time—you'll find precisely the same folders set up in Mail. To bring over your old mail and mailboxes, choose File Import Mailboxes. Figure 19-3 has the details. UP TO SPEED POP, IMAP, Exchange, and Web-based Mail When it comes to email, there are four primary flavors of servers (Internet computers that process email):POP (also known as POP3), IMAP (also known as IMAP4), Exchange, and Web-based. Each has its own distinct taste, with different strengths and weaknesses. (AOL mail could be considered a fifth kind, but if you follow the instructions at, you can read your AOL mail as if it came from a regular IMAP account.) POP accounts(Post Office Protocol) are the most common kind on the Internet. A POP server transfers your incoming mail to your hard drive before you read it, which works fine as long as you're only using one computer to access your email. If you want to take your email along on the road, you have to copy the Mail folder from your Home Library folder into the corresponding location on your laptop's hard drive. That way, when you run Mail on the laptop, you'll find
  4. your messages and attachments already in place. IMAP servers (Internet Message Access Protocol) are newer and have more features than POP servers, but aren't as common. IMAP servers keep all of your mail online, rather than making you store it on your hard drive; as a result, you can access the same mail regardless of the computer you use. IMAP servers remember which messages you've read and sent, to boot. It's a great setup if, for example, you check your email on an iPhone, because the deletions and replies you process on the phone will be there on your Mac when you get home. (Your account is an IMAP account, which is why you can access the mail in your Inbox repeatedly from any Mac in the world, anywhere you go. You can opt for a Gmail account to be an IMAP account, too.) One downside to this approach, of course, is that you can't delete your email— or read it for the first time—unless you're online, because all of your mail is on an Internet server. Another disadvantage is that if you don't conscientiously manually delete mail after you've read it, your online mail-box eventually overflows. Sooner or later, the system starts bouncing new messages back to their senders, annoying your friends. Exchange servers are are popular in corporations and some schools. Most of the time, employees tap into these servers using a Windows program like Outlook. Corporate geeks like Exchange servers because they're easy to set up and maintain, and because they offer many of the same features as IMAP servers. Luckily, Mail can read and send email through Exchange servers as though your Mac were just another beige PC. Free, Web-based services like Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail also store your mail on the Internet, but you can use a Web browser on any computer to read and send messages. They're slower and more cumbersome to use than "regular" email accounts, but they're usually free. Unfortunately, Mail can't check accounts that are entirely Web-based. Fortunately, the big name Web-based email services also offer POP or IMAP servers. If you have a .Mac account, for example, you'll find that you can read your email using either a Web browser or Mail (which, in the background, taps into the .Mac IMAP server). Same goes for Google's Gmail service, which lets you check your email either on the Web—or using either a POP or IMAP server (see Gmail's help pages for details on making that work). Conversely, more and more POP and IMAP accounts are also offering a Web-
  5. based component. For example, whoever provides your Internet service— EarthLink, Verizon, or Speakeasy, for instance—probably provides both POP service and a Web-based way of accessing your email, so you can access your mail either from home or from an Internet café in Bangladesh. All Mail cares about, though, is whether your email account allows POP, IMAP, or Exchange access; what you do on the Web is, as far as Mail is concerned, your own business.  
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