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User tips for managing Mail password rejection

Apple's Mail e-mail client may periodically issue a warning that the server has rejected your password. We recently wrote about this but some users wrote in with some additional tips that may help fix the problem.

Recently we described a problem some people have been having with Apple's Mail e-mail client, where the program will request you to supply your account password but then continue to reject it.

The occurrence of this problem seems random, making it difficult to troubleshoot, but I suggested people try tackling problems with their keychains and the Mail preferences files as relatively general approaches to dealing with this issue. In response to our article, a number of readers commented or wrote in with tips on tackling this problem, with some of them being either quicker ways or additional areas that people can investigate.

Mail password rejection
The problem happens when the server rejects the user's password, resulting in this error message being shown. Screenshot by Topher Kessler
  1. Quit and relaunch Mail
    My first suggestion was that people can just wait out the problem since after a few minutes the e-mail server generally starts accepting connections again, but MacFixIt reader Ken T. mentioned that it may be quicker to simply quit and relaunch Mail. This is not guaranteed to speed things up, but may do so in some situations.

  2. Time Machine services interfering
    MacFixIt reader Quentin H. wrote in with a unique setup in which using a Mac Mini with a Time Machine server enabled was causing the problem:
    I found my Mac OS X Server (a headless Mac Mini) was often dropping the passwords. Like your other readers found, it DID finally return. I ended up having a ScreenShare session going and found that when Time Machine cut in on the Mac Mini Server, the communications to the Mail Server on the various client iMacs dropped.

    The solution was to change the timing of the Mac Mini Server Time Machine backup (with something like [the] TimeMachineEditor software or if you enjoy it, editing the XML file manually).

  3. Disable Captcha
    The last suggestion that was sent in was by reader Paolo Z., who mentioned that disabling Google's Captcha feature on his Gmail account helped prevent this problem from occurring with Mail. A Captcha is a challenge-response test that service companies can implement to prevent bots and other automated tools from taking advantage of the service and slowing it down.

    If you are having server rejection problems with your Gmail account, you can try unlocking the Captcha feature for it, which can be done from the Unlock Captcha Web page.

    Other services besides Google may have similar security features that you can try disabling to see if that makes the password-rejection error less frequent.

Do you have any tips or tricks for tackling the problem of servers rejecting passwords from Mail? If so, then let us know below in the comments.



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