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:

Could not connect to this Google IMAP server. Check your network connection and that you entered the correct information in the Account preferences. Also verify that the server supports SSL. If it does not, deselect the "Use SSL" checkbox in the Advanced tab of the Account preferences.

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

The server returned the error: The server "imap.gmail.com" cannot be contacts on port 993.

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 8.8.8.8 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)