Our initial coverage of an issue where users are unable to successfully check e-mail when using SBC Global/Yahoo accounts -- due to problems with the server recognizing login/password information -- drew an overwhelming response, with dozens of users corroborating the problem.
In some cases, users will receive the message:
"The POP server 'pop.sbcglobal.yahoo.com' rejected the password for user '(e-mail address) Please re-enter your password, or cancel."
In other cases a timeout error will be reported, or the login phase will simply stall indefinitely.
One reader laments:
"I am being asked for my password 6 or 7 times a day. I was writing a letter and looked up to see that it was on a near blank page. The password request had come up and all I had written was in the password! This is infuriating and I would change carriers except that I just renewed my contract. So far, I haven't been able to get an answer or satisfaction from Yahoo."
Another reader writes:
"I've had that problem for some time now, months at least, but I've more or less learned to live with it. It only happens periodically - I'll go a day or two without the problem, then in the space of a few hours it will occur several times. Generally, if I hit "Cancel" on the username/password prompt box, then re-enable the then dimmed account name in Mail, it will be OK the next time a mail check occurs. I have three different mailboxes set up at my sbcglobal account, and the problem never hits them all at once - generally, one or perhaps two will be be hit with the problem at any one time."
Joel Rorabaugh writes:
"I have been experiencing the repeated requests for my SBC Yahoo e-mail password for a few weeks now. The problem is intermittent, but I have Mail set to check for new messages every five minutes, so it becomes very annoying when it does occur. Sometimes I just have to re-enter my password in the dialog box that pops up to keep the account online. Other times, when that does not work, I just give up and let the account go offline for a while and check back later. I have experienced this problem with other e-mail accounts in the past, but never with such frequency."
Many more readers echo a similar sequence of events.
Web-based e-mail unaffected Many users experiencing this problem note that while various e-mail clients exhibit issues with successfully logging into mail servers, the same accounts are always accessible via web-based mail.
MacFixIt reader Hal writes:
"About a week ago, a router went out in San Francisco affecting SBC service in the SF Bay Area. May be unrelated, but ever since they fixed it, I've had problems with Eudora fetching my mail from various SBC/Yahoo accounts. Never all of them at once, just one or another. Another fetch mail command generally picks up the errant mail box. Happens randomly.
"Clients I support in SF, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville, who use either Mail.app or Entourage, are all experiencing this issue. They, as I do, get 'mailbox unavailable.' I've received so many calls on this problem, I've sent everyone a note regarding the difficulty.
"Web based mail to the same accounts never encounter an error."
Experience with SBC/Yahoo technical support Some users have contacted SBC Global/Yahoo's technical support team with varying success.
MacFixIt reader Steve Solomon reports that SBC informed him that a fix is on the way.
"I have just confirmed with SBC that they are having server issues, the symptom of which is intermittent recurrent password rejection. They could not give me a time frame for when this will be fixed."
One technical support representative told a subscriber that the company would re-establish his login information in the hope of a fix:
"It seems the issue is due to an authentication issue. You are right, Brian, your password may allow you to sign-in but it might be corrupted in the server. [...] I have encountered this issue before and was fixed after resetting the password. Afterwards, you e-mail account will then have to be deleted and recreated where ever you have it set up. [...] Unfortunately I will not be able to assist you with that due to our Security Protocol. So, as much as I want to help you out with this issue and get it fixed once and for all, I will have to refer you to our Technical Support Department via telephone and you can contact them anytime at 1-877-SBC-DSL5. "Possible solutions
Set longer mail checking intervals A key factor in this issue appears to be the interval set between automatic e-mail account checking. If the interval is set to five minutes or less, it appears that users are more likely to suffer from the problem. Setting an automatic interval of 20 minutes or more has proven successful for some.
MacFixIt reader Jerry writes:
"SBC keeps asking for my password. I called them last week after I lost all my email. walked me thru a re-do of my account and all seemed well. Later that day, same email password problem. I changed my preferences in 'Mail' to check every 30 minutes instead of every 5 minutes and the problem seems no longer there."
Deleting SBC Global/Yahoo keychain items Another workaround that has proven successful for some readers is the deletion of any keychain items that contain the string "sbcglobal.yahoo.com."
This can be accomplished by launching the Keychain Access application (located in Applications/Utilities), clicking on either the "All Items" or "Passwords" pane, then selecting the appropriate items and pressing the Delete key.
Click cancel, then check again A workaround that has proven surprisingly effective for this problem involves simply pressing the "Cancel" button when an unsuccessful mail check error is report (or the mail checking process stalls indefinitely), then re-attempting login by checking for mail again.
MacFixIt reader David Williams writes:
"I've been having this problem a lot lately (say, in the last 2 weeks). I have Mail set to retrieve mail every 5 minutes and at least twice a day I'll come back to my computer and find the Mail app doing the notice me dance letting me know my password has been rejected. I just hit cancel and hit get mail and it continues on its merry way. "
Try using full e-mail address as login name Some users have reported that using their full SBC e-mail address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org instead of userid) allows successful mail login where it would not otherwise occur.