I help a few friends with their Mac computers (well, and Windows and Linux computers too). Today a friend came to me with an odd issue. Since June 15th Apple Mail ceased connecting to her two Gmail accounts over IMAP. After working flawlessly for a few years, since that day a connection error was coming up. It stated that port 993 could not be connected to. I checked all the obvious things, and nothing worked. Disabling SSL didn’t help either. Mail would then complain that port 143 was not accessible.

In the Apple Mail > Connection Doctor, the error said:

Clicking the exclamation icon in Mail next to each account would should this error:

The solution

Normally IMAP for Gmail uses the server address imap.gmail.com. That’s what Google says to use, it’s what I use. I am sure it’s what just about every Google IMAP user uses. However, changing it to imap.googlemail.com resolved this SSL / port 995 error. I can’t say why, and further searching on the Internet has not given me any clues. But it worked, so if you’re having the same error, give this a try.

Failed “solutions”

Based on suggestions I found online, and my own troubleshooting, the other things I tried were:

  • Changing the DNS servers (tried which is Google’s free public DNS server. Previously the OpenDNS servers were being used)
  • Reverting to having SSL turned off (which reverts to port 143)
  • Restarting Mail
  • Renewing the DHCP lease (under TCP/IP options in the network connection preferences)