How to get your AOL email working again on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Updated August 16th, 2021.

This article helps you solve problems involving AOL mail on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. There are two main scenarios:

  1. You’ve received an email from AOL about updated security measures. It would look something like this:
Letter from AOL telling you your account needs attention
Letter from AOL telling you your account needs attention

Or maybe, all of a sudden, you can’t get your AOL mail on your Mac or iPhone, and they keep asking for the password, and you keep typing it in, and it never works, even though you are positive you know what the password is.

If that sounds like you, click here to jump to the section of this article that solves this “updated security measures” problem.

UPDATE: if you have an email address from Verizon (ending in verizon.net) these instructions can help you too.

2. You have some other problem involving AOL mail on a Mac or an iPhone.

Note: this article tells you everything you need to know about creating an app-specific password and using it to sign into AOL on an older Mac or iPhone. It’s all here. But, if you’d rather have me do the work for you, use this link to schedule a remote Zoom appointment with me. The fee for this service is $39 per device, per account, payable by credit card or PayPal, and only if your AOL mail comes in. No mail, no fee.


Solving the Updated Security Measures problem

AOL’s sent emails to everyone with an aol.com email address, telling us that in order to continue to get our aol.com email we are probably going to have to sign into our accounts again, using an updated secure sign-in method.

You may have noticed that AOL’s letter says that they’re requiring “updated secure sign-in when accessing your account from unofficial or non-Yahoo apps.” What’s this have to do with Yahoo, you may be wondering.

It turns out that in 2015, Verizon bought AOL and two years later Verizon decided not to handle its own email accounts, moving them all to the AOL system. Shortly after that, they bought Yahoo, and lumped it and AOL into something called “Oath.” Yahoo handles a lot of email, and because Yahoo mail has a better security system than AOL mail does, they are upgrading the security on AOL mail to match. UPDATE: Verizon is selling Oath. Hopefully this will not impact anyone’s email.

Let’s look at what this means, and what you have to do.

For AOL webmail users

First, if you get your email on a Mac (or a PC) by going to a web browser, typing in “aol.com,” and then reading and composing mail there, you don’t have to do anything. Your AOL mail experience will remain exactly the same.

For Mac Mail app users

UPDATE 2-19-2021: as far as I can tell, there’s no way to make AOL mail work with Apple’s Mac Mail app on macOS 10.9.5 (Mavericks). It doesn’t matter how you try, it’s not going to work. If you want to get your AOL mail on your Mac without resorting to doing it in a browser (yuck), I recommend the Thunderbird mail app. It looks a lot like Apple’s Mail app and it works with AOL just fine. And it’s free! It comes from the same people who started the Firefox browser.

Thunderbird

AOL thinks the Mac Mail app is not secure if it’s from macOS 10.13 or older, and they won’t let Mail connect to their servers– unless you create a special, “app-specific password” while signed into aol.com and use that– and not your “real” AOL password– in the Mail app..

Even though you know the password for your AOL account– one way to be sure: go to aol.com in a browser and sign in there to prove that you know it– Mail on a Mac will not work with that password if your Mac is on 10.13 or earlier. The solution: a custom, special “app password,” generated by AOL, just for the Mail program.

(Remember that the app-specific password does not replace your AOL password. If you were to go to www.aol.com in a browser, and enter your AOL username, it’s your “real” AOL password that you’d enter there as well. The app-specific password is only for the Mail app.)

Creating an app-specific password is easy, and AOL provides directions. The basics:

  1. Go to www.aol.com in a browser and sign in
  2. Click on your name at upper right so you can see your Account settings
  3. Click on “Account Security” in the left-hand pane
  4. Click on “Generate and manage app passwords” (look around, the link is small)
  5. Enter a name for your password. Something like “Mail app for Mac” is good. Then click “Generate” to create the password.
  6. Copy the password (or otherwise write it down) and use it when signing into AOL for whichever device you’re trying to fix.

If you make a mistake you can start over. Nothing to worry about. Note: you won’t be able to look up an app-specific password at AOL after the fact, FYI. You can make a new one but you can’t look up the old ones.


NOTE: the app specific password will look something like this:

jqxr wxpq mnix zwrt

Very important: the spaces aren’t spaces! They don’t count! They aren’t there at all. Prove it to yourself when you make the app-specific password: highlight the password, copy it, and paste it somewhere (into Notes, or an email, or in TextEdit– anywhere you can paste). You’ll see the spaces just aren’t there. So, you’re better off copying and pasting the app-specific password than writing it down and then entering it by hand into the Internet Accounts preference pane.


You may be tempted to enter this special app-specific password into the box that pops up saying “No password provided” or something like that. Don’t do that, it won’t work. Instead, go to System Preferences, then Internet Accounts, then click your AOL account. You’ll probably see a message saying “Can’t connect to the account…” and if you do, enter your app-specific password there, and you’re all set.

Internet Accounts preference pane, showing AOL can't connect
Internet Accounts preference pane, showing AOL can’t connect

If the password box doesn’t pop up right away, or if you put the app-specific password into the box and it’s rejected anyway, you have one more chance. Cancel out of the box above, click on your AOL account, then click the Details… button at upper right, and then enter (or paste) the app-specific password. This ought to work.

Entering the app-specific password after clicking the Details... button in Internet Accounts section of System Preferences
Entering the app-specific password after clicking the Details… button

That’s all there is to it, if you’re using Mail on macOS High Sierra (10.13) or older. You can open up the Mail app and watch your mail come pouring in.

If you’re using the Mac Mail app on a Mac with Mojave (10.14) or Catalina (10.15), you don’t need the app-specific password. Instead, you’ll have to delete the account and then add it again. That’s not hard– see below.

NOTE: I should have mentioned when I first wrote this article that you will NOT lose your emails if you delete the account. The emails are either on the server (test it– go to aol.com and sign in and see), or they are “On My Mac” (look for a folder on the left-hand side of the Mail app and see). Deleting the account from your Mac doesn’t delete the mail from the server. Remember, you are only “letting go” of the account from your Mac– not deleting mail from the server. If you follow the direction below that’s all you’re doing. What you’re NOT doing is selecting all of the mail in your inbox and deleting it. No no no. You’re just “letting go” of the account, in the Preferences. And then adding it again.

Step 1: Go to System Preferences, then Internet Accounts, then click on your AOL account, and then click the minus sign at the bottom left of that window. You’ll get a message asking whether you want to turn it off, or delete it from all of your devices. You have to choose “Delete from all devices.”

Before you delete it, make a note of what is turned on for your AOL account, and what isn’t, as seen below. In my case, Mail only.

Internet account settings for AOL showing only Mail being checked
I’m only using the mail from AOL– not contacts, not calendars, not reminders, not notes

Now we need to add the account again.

Step 2: Still in Internet Accounts (via System Preferences), click where it says “Aol” and enter your AOL username in the box that pops up. You don’t have to include “@aol.com” if you don’t want to. Check the box that says “Stay signed in.” Click Next.

Adding an AOL account in Internet Accounts in System Preferences
Adding an AOL account in Internet Accounts in System Preferences
AOL sign-in box in macOS Catalina
Enter your username, and check the “Stay signed in” box

Step 3: Enter your AOL password. Click the eyeball to double-check that you haven’t made a typo. Then click Next.

Entering the password for the AOL account
Enter your AOL password

Step 4: You’re going to get a message saying that AOL hasn’t seen you sign in from this device before. It’s not true– what they mean is, they haven’t seen you sign in from this device since two seconds ago, when you re-added the account. They’ll send you a code so you can continue the sign-in process. AOL can send you a text message, or an email, so make your choice and wait for the message to arrive.

Getting a code from AOL, as a text message or in an email
Getting a code from AOL, as a text message or in an email

Scroll down and check the box that says “Don’t ask me again on this device” unless you like signing in and supplying codes over and over.

Checking the box for "Don't ask me again on this device" in the AOL sign-in screen.

Step 5: Enter the code that came in the message from AOL. (This is a one-time code so don’t bother saving it– if you need a code another time, AOL will send a different one.) Then click Verify. Don’t dawdle, there’s a time limit on this.

Entering the code that AOL sends when you try to sign in
Entering the code that AOL sent to my iPhone

Step 6: Scroll down the list of things you’re agreeing to let macOS and iOS to access. This is your own stuff– your AOL Contacts, your AOL Calendar, your AOL mail, etc. so just scroll to the bottom and click Agree.

You won’t see the “Agree” button unless you scroll to the bottom of the window.

AOL agreement in Internet Accounts box
Scroll down and click the Agree button (not shown– I didn’t scroll down yet)

Step 7: Finally, uncheck the boxes next to the services you’re not using. By default, AOL checks everything, which in my case is not what I want (I only want Mail). Click Done.

AOL account, re-added, and with only Mail checked (just like before)
AOL account, re-added, and with only Mail checked (just like before)

That should do it.

For iPhone and iPad users

It could be as easy as signing in again. If you’re using a newish iPhone or iPad, try this:

Step 1: On your iPhone (or iPad), go to Settings, then Passwords & Accounts.

UPDATE FOR iOS 14: go to Settings, then Mail, then Accounts.

Passwords & Accounts in Settings
Tap Passwords & Accounts…

Step 2: Tap your AOL account

AOL account in the Passwords & Account section of Settings app
Tap your AOL account…

Step 3: You’ll see a screen with a big Aol at the top, and “Sign in.” If your email address is already there, great. If not, put it in. Then (important!) tap Next (because the password box is not on this screen, it’s on the next screen).

NOTE: If you don’t see the sign-in screen, tap “Delete Account,” then add it again by tapping “Add Account.” In the list of account types (iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Google, yahoo!, Aol., and Outlook.com) be sure to choose “Aol.” Then proceed with these directions.

Enter your email address on this screen, then tap Next.
Enter your email address, then tap Next…

Step 4: Enter your password, then tap “Sign in.” If your “real” AOL password doesn’t work, make an app-specific password following these directions and use it to sign into AOL on your iPhone.

Signing in on the AOL sign-in screen.
Enter your password, then tap “Sign in.”

Step 5: Finally, here are the terms! Agree to everything. All you have to do is tap “Agree” at bottom right.

Agree to let iOS (and weirdly, macOS) access your AOL account.
You Agree! You do! Tap the Agree button and you’re back in business.

There might be a Save button at top right. If you see it, tap it.

The Save button-- if you see it, tap it.
If you see the Save button, tap it.

Solving other AOL Mail problems

The first thing to do is figure out where the problem originates. Maybe your settings used to work, but now they don’t. That could be because you have a Verizon.net email address, handled by AOL, and what used to work settings-wise don’t anymore.

Find out what your email settings should be by visiting Apple’s Mail Settings Lookup page. You don’t even have to put in your real email address, in case you’re worried about giving that out. Just get the back end of it correct. For example, if your email address is “hot_tamale@verizon.net” you could look up the settings for “anybody@verizon.net” and get the info you need, as shown below:

Mail settings lookup results from Apple
Mail settings lookup results for an email ending with “@verizon.net”

Notice the incoming mail server is map.aol.com, but the outgoing mail server is smtp.verizon.net. You might have expected them both to be Verizon.net, or both AOL.com, but they aren’t. And obviously (I think) you’d use your own email address as the username.

I know it’s confusing, especially when the settings for a “real” AOL address look like this:

AOL mail settings lookup from Apple.
Mail settings for an email that ends with “@aol.com”

(Remember that Mail Settings Lookup page. It’s a great reference.)

Maybe it’s not your device that isn’t working. Maybe the problem is at AOL’s end. Find out by visiting Downdetector.com. Here’s information from that site on September 9th, 2020:

DownDetector image for AOL 9-9-2020
DownDetector image from 7 PM Pacific Time 9-9-2020

If you were having troubles getting AOL mail that day, maybe it wasn’t you! Looks like AOL was having some issues.

Three hours later the problems were over:

DownDetector for AOL at 10 PM Pacific Time 9-9-2020
DownDetector for AOL at 10 PM Pacific Time 9-9-2020

Most of the problems had to do with email, so if you were having problems that day, the problems could have magically gone away.

If DownDetector doesn’t show problems with AOL, maybe your internet connection isn’t any good. Try going to speedtest.net and running a test. If your internet speed isn’t good, maybe you have a problem with your internet service. DownDetector can help you with that too– they may show your service provider having problems. As first steps, try unplugging the modem and router from power (don’t disconnect other cables, just unplug them from the wall), then replugging them, and finally try making a call to your internet service provider to see if they’re having a problem. While you’re calling, restart your Mac or iPhone and see what happens. Restarting fixes a lot of things.


That’s it! Now go to your Home screen (if your iPhone has a Home button, click it; if it doesn’t, just swipe up), find your Mail app, give it a tap and see how it works. I’m betting that it works perfectly. You can let me know.

Note: trying to add your AOL calendar to your iPhone or iPad? Here’s my article telling you how to do it. Trying to add your AOL contacts to your iPhone or iPad? I have an article on that too.

Copyright 2008-2021 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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117 thoughts on “How to get your AOL email working again on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Add yours

  1. This just won’t work for me, I get to the password section, put in the password and it just hangs … I’ve tried changing the password, twice, still won’t work and all because I followed aol’s advice to delete the account and add it back. I’m just getting angrier and angrier 😡

    1. The advice sounds good but it’s not working. Before re-adding the account restart your iPhone. Be sure you have a good internet connection when you’re doing this. And one more thing: try entering just ‘suepgooch” (without the ‘@aol.com’)as the user name. Of course it’s good to test the new password by signing into Aol.com with a web browser.

  2. Well I made some progress, the account is now set up, it will deliver incoming mail but it won’t send, is says the sender address is invalid. I can sign in on the web account and send but not on the iPad. So frustrating.

  3. I have an iPhone 7 & IPad Pro, I have tried to generate the AOL third party app password. I copied & pasted it from AOL to my iPad settings under “incoming mail server”. Now I am unable to get my mail the way I always did on both my iPad & iPhone. What am I doing wrong? Tried calling AOL, was on hold for an hour, only to be disconnected. UGH!!!

    1. Assuming you’re on iOS 13 or 14, the right move for you is to remove the account from your devices and add it again. The problem you’re having is slightly different than the one I wrote about but the solution is easy: remove the account, then add it again. When you add it again, you’ll tap on the AOL logo to show that you’re adding an AOL account. The rest is easy (and a lot like my article). I’ll be adding to the article tonight or tomorrow to handle this new problem from AOL.

      Let me know how it goes.

  4. HI Christian. Thank you for your very clear directions. You were most helpful, in comparison to AOL., who wanted me to sign up for a monthly $15 fee to get help.
    Question: I updated my iPhone 11 as per your instruction, do i need to do the same on my iPad and MacBook Air? My brain tells me no, because they should sync. I appreciate your answer. Rita

    1. You know, I have the same question about the other devices. I can make a case for the answer being “no, because they should sync” but I can also make a case for “you’ll have to do this on each machine.” AOL doesn’t seem to make any allowance for the synching of internet accounts via iCloud, and that complicates things.

      In my testing, with an iPhone on iOS 14, an iPad on iOS 14, a Mac on Catalina, another Mac on Mojave, and another Mac on High Sierra, deleting the AOL account from my Catalina Mac didn’t delete it from the other devices even though I gave it half an hour or so to do it. The High Sierra Mac needs an app-specific password, which I created some time ago (older Mail versions needed that a long time ago– the “new” issue is that even new Mac Mail apps and iPhone Mail apps have to sign out and in again). So far everything works on all devices. If something stops working on October 20th I know what to do, but I’m not going to do anything more in advance.

  5. If I delete Aol account on my MacBook Pro and then reinstall will all my mail still be there. A relation is in the process of buying a house and near completion and I have all the relative emails as I am the only one with a printer, so dare not lose them.

    1. Hi JennyP51: Yes, all of your mail will still be there. You can double-check by going to aol.com (in Safari or Chrome)– if you see the mail there, it’s “on the server” so letting go of it on your MacBook Pro just means… letting go of it on your MacBook Pro! That won’t delete the mail from the server. Remember, you’re not deleting the messages, you’re just removing the account from your Mac. The server remains unchanged. Just to be clear: you won’t be clicking on messages and deleting them. You’ll be in the Preferences, removing the account from your Mac. Got it?

  6. I’ve set the password etc as advised by Aol and when I launched Mail it started to download my email but after a few seconds Mail encountered a problem and reported the error Mail quit unexpectedly, Ignore, Report, Reopen.

    As Mail launches I can see the emails but Mail doesn’t stay on screen for more than a couple of seconds before giving the error message. I’m using OS X 10.11.6

    1. This is a different kind of problem. Probably a corrupt message. Try this: go to AOL.com and see if there are any messages in the Inbox that you can throw away. If this problem is something new, I would throw away things going back to the day the problem started. Then try re-launching Mail. Keep me posted.

  7. Hi Christian
    Moved all mail for the Today, New Mail and Old Mail folders to saved folders but unfortunately the problem still persists.

  8. Hi Christian,

    After musing over the problem further I decided to

    1 Make sure the Aol inboxes were empty and delete the Mac mail entry under Account Security/Manage app passwords.
    2 Delete the Aol link in System preferences/internet Accounts
    3 Create a new app password for the Mac mail app in Aol
    4 Add Aol again under System Preferences/internet Accounts
    5 Launch Mail

    This time around Mail showed that it was downloading the mail and currently seems to be working okay.

    Many thanks for your input to what hopefully is a return to mail normality!

    All the best,
    Lawrie

  9. Christian, thanks so much for this article! I followed your instructions on both my iPad and iPhone, with IOS14.2 and they seemed to work, but I have 2 questions:
    1. I was never asked to ‘agree’ to any terms on either device – why?
    2. Mail is not syncing on the two devices – an email I delete on one device still remains on the other device. What do I need to do?

    1. Hi Kathy– glad it’s working, that’s the main thing. Regarding not being asked to agree to the terms: maybe that is only triggered when you delete the account and re-add it, and maybe you didn’t have to do that. Maybe.

      Synching: give it time and I think a message deleted on Device A will delete itself from Device B. You can speed this up: after deleting, and on the device you deleted from, pull down in the Inbox’s list view and release (this is the move that tells the server “re-sync”). Then do the same on the other device. That should do it.

  10. Just recently bought a HP Scanner and now need to learn how to scan a document or whatever and be able to attach it to an AOL email to send it as an attachment what ai am finding that although I am able to scan when I save the document I am not sure where it saved to, the second problem is when I go to AOL to add the attachment AOL doesn’t show up as an option to share, secondly if I go to add an attachment then it only offers pictures I have saved I cannot browse for any other source or folders to choose from
    Any help appreciated kind regards Paul

  11. I liked your article, thank you. I actually came across it after solving the problem with a PC using Microsoft’s Outlook 2019 and AOL mail. We had used verizon for years, but for some reason the smtp and the pop on the verizon side stopped working. After looking at the Microsoft site suggesting to change to pop.aol.com instead of the other pop.verizon.net server it started working but the final piece was to use the AOL web site and to enable the app password. After generating that password we added it to the Outlook client, and it worked. IN other words it seems that outlook won’t pass a password directly for the AOL account connection from the outlook client, instead it relies on a generated APP password.

  12. Dear Sir, not sure if you are still actively on this subject. I need help!
    My iPhone and iPad2 were receiving AOL mails fine until 2 days ago when they both suddenly won’t updating mails any more. I have already deleted AOL mail from my iPad (not yet touched iPhone) but when I tried to add it back, I got a message saying “The user name or password for iMAP.AOL.com is incorrect”. What to do?
    BTW, my iPhone can still get new and old mails via Safari but no longer my iPad2. Your thoughts, please. Thanks.

    1. Hi Warren. I think the problem is, based on you having an iPad 2, that the software on your iPad is too old to work with the kind of security scheme that AOL is looking for. You have to make “an app-specific password” which you will use ONLY for making AOL Mail work on your iPad. Your “real” AOL password does not change. Follow the directions in the article for making an app-specific password, and use that when setting up AOL again on your iPad. Keep me posted, we can solve this.

  13. The “app-specific password” worked perfectly for my iPad2! Thank you so very much!
    Question: My iPhone 7 suffered the same issue. Shall I apply the same approach to correct the problem?

    1. “App-specific password” is probably the answer for your iPhone 7, yes. You MAY be able to use the same app-specific password that you made for the iPad, maybe– but I don’t know. You can try it, and if it doesn’t work, go back to aol.com and make an app-specific password especially for your iPhone’s Mail app.

  14. By deleting the old AOL and add a new account, I was able to make my iPhone do its thing. No app-specific password required. The only extra step was that I must enter a special security code provided by AOL during sign-in.
    Thank you very much for helping out. You have a good day, sir!

    1. I think the situation with your iPhone was different than on your iPad. Your iPad, being an iPad 2, was definitely not on the latest software. The iPhone probably was, or close to it. But– I am guessing that the account was set up as “IMAP” and not as “AOL.” Sounds as if you did it as “AOL” this time. Good going, now you’re all set!

  15. Thank you sooooo much! You walked me through the steps to get my email started up again on my Iphone and I truly appreciate it 🙂 Everything you said was clear and it worked like a charm!

  16. Hi Christian, sounds like you have the help that is actually working for people! We have an issue that we cannot solve regarding my husband’s Aol email not transferring over to his new iPhone SE. My son was then trying to help without having to PAY Aol a fee for help and accidentally deleted the “notes” in Aol which is where my husband had saved all of his passwords. They have been unable to change any of his passwords as well and keep getting locked out of the account. I don’t understand any of this, I just know how frustrated it is making them. Do you possibly have any suggestions on how to get this issue cleared up? Thank you!!

  17. Mr. Boyce,

    Thank you so much for putting this online, for offering help that AOL doesn’t.

    I would add to your update of 2/19/2021 about OSX Mavericks.

    I am using 10.9.5 Mavericks on my iMac and my wife uses 10.11.6 El Capitan on her MacBook Air. We both have been using Apple Mail. We both got the message from AOL last October about enhanced security measures. We both deleted the account and reinstalled it. That worked for both of us, and we didn’t have any problems until this month.

    On Friday, February 12, sometime after 3:00 pm, my Apple Mail stopped receiving new messages, although I could still send outgoing messages. I tried following the earlier advice and deleted my AOL account from the Internet Accounts panel of System Preferences. But it wouldn’t let me reinstall the account; instead, I got a message “An unknown error occurred.” I tried installing my AOL account on my wife’s computer and was successful. So I assumed that my computer was now too old to work with AOL, except via webmail.

    My wife had a similar problem today, February 24. Sometime after 1:00 pm, her Apple Mail stopped working and she got a message to enter her AOL password through Internet Accounts / System Preferences. However, all attempts to enter the password have failed. So now, 12 days after my computer suddenly became “too old”, her computer has also become “too old”.

    Neither of us received any warning from AOL that this change would be coming.

    Both of us had been considering getting new computers anyway, since we had been having other problems (slowness, incompatibility with some websites even when we use Firefox, etc.) I guess now it’s really time to bite the bullet.

    Thanks again for having a place where Apple-AOL users can post their experiences.

    1. That’s really interesting. I noticed that despite the warnings, a lot of people using Macs with older operating system, who I thought would have problems with their AOL mail, did not– but maybe they will soon.

  18. Thank you Christian, this situation almost caused a total meltdown with two affected machines. Initially I called Apple and perhaps their advice (before the phone cut off) to upgrade the respective operating systems might have worked ultimately, but yours which I found by chance was much better. I had received the AOL messages but had lumped them with the fake ones that are always coming, incorrectly this time.
    Nigel (UK)

  19. Thank you Christian, Your instructions for how to fix “aol mail not coming into my iphone” were clear, concise, accurate and definitely helpful, as they fixed my (AOL’s) 3-day problem.

  20. Christian,

    Thanks for your comment about Mavericks, AOL and Mac mail. My 85 year old neighbor has a Mac (purchased 2011) with Mavericks OS X 10.9.5. She has AOL email and accesses using Mac mail. Without warning, she stopped receiving email via Mac mail on Feb 9th. She pays $10 a month for AOL tech support and we called for help. First tried the “new password” then the removing and re-adding the account in Mac Mail. Could not re-add the account. AOL rep said Apple had to fix, out of their hands.
    Current options
    1. Buy an new computer
    2. Change email provider
    3. Try to forward AOL to a new gmail account and add that to MAC Mail (except, what happens when she replies.)

    Good news is she still can get AOL mail on her iphone. Not sure I can get her to change and email address she had had for many years.

    Not really a question here, just another verification of problem.

    MEK

    1. Most likely the iPhone is on a newer system, with security features that match what AOL is looking for, so that’s why it works on the iPhone.

      If you want to use an app that is a lot like Mail try Thunderbird. It’s free, and it works with AOL.

  21. Thank you! Used this to restore my AOL mail on an older (unsupported) iPad. Generated an app-specific password. Thank you!!

  22. My mail just stopped updating: no warning. After 3 hours of checking settings, being able to access mail from other devices/ web browser, this solution with app specific password fixed my problem with Mail (on OS10.11.6) in two minutes!! Thank you very much!!

  23. You are my absolute favorite person in the world right now. I thought I would never get this fixed and your article just saved my “e-mail” life. Words cant express how appreciative I am.

  24. Thank you so much. I hadn’t been able to access my aol mail on my iPhone, and none of the “fixes” other people recommended worked. But yours did, perfectly, and easily.

  25. Christian – any suggestions on how I can automatically forward just my new AOL emails to my Gmail account? I access Gmail on a Mac. I read through your instructions in the article but they do not seem to work as I continue to receive error messages when I try to add a mail account under Gmail Settings. I select “Import emails from my other account (POP3)”, use POP Server pop.aol.com, port 995 & check SSL. Two-way authentication for AOL is not turned on.

    Error message reads “There was a problem connecting to pop.aol.com
    Server returned error: “Connection timed out: There may be a problem with the settings you added. Please contact your other email provider to verify the correct server name and port.”

    My AOL emails were previously being forwarded automatically to my Gmail account until this past Fall when it stopped. I realize AOL changed up their security settings in the Fall to access AOL mail from 3rd party apps and I found those instructions in your article as well. But they do not call out instructions for Gmail access via a Mac.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.Thanks in advance.

    Michael

  26. I tried a bunch of things and could not get it to work. I think we need to somehow enable POP on your AOL account in order for Gmail to retrieve it (using the “fetch mail from other accounts,” not from the “Import Mail” section). But, on AOL.com there’s no option. It is possible that one could find such a setting by using AOL Desktop (on a PC) but I wasn’t able to try that. In summary, I did not find a way to make it work for you, even with an app-specific password for Gmail.

  27. I have the same issue where I cannot get iPhone/ iPad to default to AOL when I want to send an email … a share for example …..

  28. I cannot find and email on my system on my iPad where can ai find it please? To enable me to change to default …regards

    1. Depends on the operating system you’re using on your iPad. For newer systems, it’s Settings/Mail/Default Account. For older systems, it’s Settings/Accounts (or Passwords & Accounts)/Mail/Default Account.

  29. If ones device will not support IOS14, an IPAD mini which will just support IOS 12.5 is there a work around for this?

  30. Problem on my end: I’m on Snow Leopard on my Mac Pro (2007). System Preferences has no “Internet Accounts.” Is there a workaround?

  31. Problem for me is that I’m on a Snow Leopard MacPro, where there is no “Internet Accounts” in System Preferences. Any workaround?

    1. You MAY be able to make the app-specific password, and then enter it directly into the Mail settings (in the incoming and outgoing mail server password settings). That’s all you can do. Try it and let me know.

  32. Thanks for responding, Christian. That’s the first thing I did, assuming I did it right. I had AOL’s program create app-specific passwords for both Mac Mail and (a customized) Mail. Then pasted (w/o the spaces) both (separately) into Mail’s password box.
    Neither did the trick.
    (The app-specific passwords for the iPad [brand new], iPhone 7, and MacBookPro [High Sierra] worked like a charm. The new MacBook Air seems to have been synced with the MacBook Pro and was already configured.)

    1. Doesn’t look good. In my article I have a note about AOL not working on 10.9.5 and I’m guessing that it won’t work with something older either. You can install an older version of Thunderbird and get your mail onto your Snow Leopard Mac that way.

  33. A Snow Leopard-compatible version of Thunderbird won’t download. “Host error.” So it looks like I’ll have to continue to rely on the browser access. Thanks as always for your great help.

  34. I believe you, but after finally exhausting the “See More” option, I can find nothing lower than 52.2 and nothing earlier than 2017. There are three columns of earlier versions (via Firefox 84.0.1 in MacBookPro). Getting quite frustrating despite your great help and patience.

  35. Thanks very much. After all this, I decided to see if I had at some point in the past downloaded a version of the application. Turns out I did in 2011. Version 5.0. Opened fine. A new crisis is that it won’t recognize my AOL password. And neither will my Mail application. So now to hit the AOL site to check that out.
    The day’s been one step forward, two steps back.
    But we’ll get there.
    Thanks again!

  36. Hi I deleted my aol account on my iPhone 11 and and iPad then added the aol account on both devices again
    All my emails came over and starting working fine but only 45 of my 78 aol notes came over on both devices. All 78 are on my aol account in my pc.hoencsn I get the rest of my notes on my iPhone and iPad?

    1. I wonder what is different about those other 33 notes. Meanwhile, I might want to print out, or export, those notes while you can see them on the PC. Keep me posted.

  37. The 33 notes that didn’t come over where the oldest notes. Only the latest 45 notes came over. It’s like the aol the server stopped downloading. Any idea how to get the other 45 notes to download on my iPhone and iPad?

    1. I would copy the text from the notes, on the PC, and stash them somewhere so you are sure not to lose them. Then I would try making a new note with each chunk of text, naming them something like “NEW– note name” (where the existing note is named “note name”) and then seeing if they sync to your iPhone and iPad. If they do, then I’d delete the old versions. Make sense?

  38. Thank you, had no idea why my iPhone and iPad could not access new emails. All set, appreciate your expertise.

  39. THANK YOU so much! I have spent hours trying to get an old ipad working for my elderly father, who is in a rehab center, specifically so he can check his email. I finally stumbled on to your link, and YES, happy to say the app specific pw worked perfectly. So appreciate you posting this information!

  40. I have the same problem as Susiegoo
    October 10, 2020 at 12:52 pm
    the account is set up, it will deliver incoming mail but it won’t send. instead it says the sender address is invalid. I can sign in on the web account and send but not on the iPad. So frustrating.

    1. Did you delete the account on your device (iPhone? Mac?) and then get an app-specific password, and then add the account again? If not, do that– and if it still doesn’t work contact me and we will do a Zoom call and fix it together.

  41. Hi, hoping you can help me regain access to AOL email on my iTouch (ipod Touch) 3rd generation (and 4th generation). I lost access in February 2021, and I get an error message saying “unable to verify SSL server imap.aol.com” but I suspect it is the third party app issue? When I generate a 3rd part app for “iPhone” however, it doesn’t work. Is there another name I should be entering into AOL when it generates the 3rd party app password? For example, I had to recently do this when my email stopped loading on my new Android phone, and I had to enter “Gmail” into the aol password generator to get the 3rd party app password to work (because that’s what my android phone calls the access to my AOL). Any help would be appreciated – I’m trying to email “Notes” to myself from the iTouches, and AOL pooping out is very inconvenient! I know these devices are old, but they are small and still useful. Thank you!

  42. IT WORKED!!! For several weeks I had tried so many of the unsuccessful things that other pages had instructed. I even called Apple and they told me that I would have to either update my MacOS. Your instructions were simple and they worked!!! Thank you!!!

  43. I deleted my aol email account on my iPhone and both iPads and then entered it again using my original sign in and password and it fixed my problem on all the devices. I did not need to get an app specific password. Nothing else was needed. Everything working fine

    1. Fantastic. I’m just glad it’s working.

      If your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is using a new enough system (with a new enough Mail app) deleting the account and adding it again triggers the proper sign-in screen and you’ll be all set. Older systems, with older Mail apps, require the app-specific passwords.

    1. Depends on how old the iPod Touches are. Remove the accounts from the iPod Touches, add them again, possibly with app-specific password. Contact me by email if you need more help.

  44. Amazing! Thank you! Wow. And I didn’t have to update the Mac OS, either. All it took was getting that app-specific password. Genius!

  45. Hi Christian,
    I can’t send an email to myself when on my iPhone 6se. I use aol mail that was Verizon. My mail sent to me in iPhone mail app goes to outbox. I can send /receive other emails in app, aol app and on laptop. I deleted and readded my aol mail account. I still use Verizon.net. It just stopped working today. I am going nuts with this.

    Thanks,
    Linda

  46. My FB account was hacked so I changed passwords including the aol. I was unable to update the new password on my iPhone so I deleted my AOL account. When I attempt to add back my aol account to mail it will not add. I type in my username and my password, the iPhone (IOS 14.6) thinks for a moment and then takes me back to the “add account” to select an email account all over again. Im so frustrated.

  47. I get my AOL mail through Mac Mail on macOS 10.13 (High Sierra). AOL’s app password only seems to last for a few weeks, then it suddenly stops working. Even if I type back in the same generated app password it doesn’t work. I have to kill the old one on the AOL website and make a new app password in order for it to work again, but it’ll only last a few weeks. This has been going on for about 2 months now. Not sure how to get around this. AOL’s security is trash…

    1. Well how about that: my AOL quit working on my 10.13.6 Mac Pro. Couldn’t sign in whether using the app-specific password in System Preferences/Internet Accounts nor in Mail. I made a new app-specific password and it still didn’t work either place. I tried adding a new account, using the new app-specific password, and choosing “AOL” as the type of account, and got the message that the account already existed… which made me feel good. At least the password worked. So I deleted the existing AOL account, created a new one (easily) using the new app-specific password, and all that’s left to do now is wait for thousands of AOL email messages to download from the server. Maybe this will work for a while (maybe for you too).

  48. I’ve got 10 other email accounts in Mac Mail and AOL is the only one that craps out after a while. In fact just happened again tonight… and I’ve noticed I can’t just copy/paste the new password app, it actually has to be typed in before it’s accepted (maybe that’s the problem you were having?). Think I’ll try typing the existing password the next time it takes a dive.

    1. That’s interesting about the copy/paste not working. I’ve been pasting all along and it seems fine.

      One thing that I’ve learned in all of this is you have to go to System Preferences/Internet Accounts and sign in THERE. If you do that, everything else seems to work.

  49. THANKS A MILLION!! I could kiss you right now. I lost all my aol accounts on my phone and this was the only thing that worked.

  50. Christian
    Many thanks for your advice on this subject Last week all my connections to AOL suddenly ceased (Mac, iPad and iPhone). I was tearing my hair out ! Had to try a couple of times in some instances – maybe my impatience waiting for AOL to register my changes, but all came good in the end. My heartfelt thanks.
    With Best Regards
    Martin

  51. Thank you for posting these instructions! I also stopped receiving my AOL verizon.net email in MAC mail and the app specific pw did the trick. I am running High Sierra on my MB Pro and am considering upgrading to Mojave since Apple has stopped issuing security updates for High Sierra. When I open internet accounts in system preferences in High Sierra there are only icloud and verizon mail accounts. There is no AOL mail account listed. Just wondering how the mail program in Mojave would work with a verizon.net email address if I chose to add an AOL account. I tried doing this in High Sierra when I was trying to get my AOL email to work but it wouldn’t accept a verizon.net address, it had to be aol.com. I’m sure I haven’t articulated this correctly, lol. I’m beginning to be sorry I ever chose to stay with verizon.net email and AOL. I would have to update so many email addresses if I were to switch, it’s depressing!!
    Any feedback would be appreciated!
    Regards,
    Joanne

  52. Very interesting, and exhaustively researched and reported.

    Here’s my problem, though: Someone at work who has an AOL email address is suddenly not receiving emails I send from my Mac via my Mac.com email account. Previously he received them; in the last couple of weeks he has stopped receiving them. Any ideas on what’s going on there? (Everyone else at work receives all my emails.). Please let me know if I should book a Zoom appt. with you; thanks.

  53. Thank you for responding! Sorry for the rant! I may take you up on that if I decide to upgrade to Mojave.

  54. I have been trying to re-sync my AOL account with my macbook for months. Your instructions worked perfectly and I’m back up and running. Thank you so much!!

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