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  • Simon Cox

How to solve the Apple mail Unable to verify account name or password issue

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Have you been unable to verify account name or password, or changed your keychain password and had issues with Apple mail and services such as Linkedin, Google, Flickr, Vimeo? I have had this situation with my main email address and was getting error messages. I solved it with a fix that will save you time.

Changed your keychain password recently? It may have wiped your passwords in Internet accounts!

Recent­ly I upgrad­ed to High Sier­ra the Apple OSX released in August 2017 and all appeared to go well with the upgrade   it cer­tain­ly looks fresh. Dur­ing the install a new secu­ri­ty check came up, appar­ent­ly you can­not have the same pass­word for your Mac log-in and your iCloud log-in. I was not expect­ing this so didn't have my 1Password avail­able on my iPhone to help gen­er­ate a new one so I mud­dled through and thought I would change that again lat­er. When I opened the Apple Mail app all my email accounts failed to con­nect. All were ask­ing for the pass­word. I have quite a few email addresses for dif­fer­ent side projects and luck­i­ly I have the pass­word all stored in 1password. How­ev­er, none of the pass­words would ver­i­fy. I checked online web­mail for a cou­ple and the pass­word worked just great so it wasn't that.

I got onto Apples very respon­sive and help­ful help desk, who in turn asked me to do a safe restart and oth­er things but noth­ing would change so they asked me to rein­stall High Sier­ra. Sev­er­al hours lat­er (rur­al broad­band…) I had the Mac back up and run­ning and all seemed to be ok. I was able to get emails and life was back to happy.

That was until I shut down the Mac a few days lat­er. On reboot­ing the Mac I was back to square one when the OSX asked me to reen­ter my pass­word for Google ser­vices.   I imme­di­ate­ly checked Mail and sure enough none of the accounts were con­nect­ing   same ​‘Unable to ver­i­fy account name or pass­word' issue yet again.

This time I was not going to rein­stall the OSX   I'd had this issue years ago and had solved it then but could not remem­ber what I did   just remem­bered it was sim­ple but not obvi­ous. After a lot of tri­al and error, I found the solu­tion and am writ­ing it up as much for myself as for any­one else who runs into the same issue. here you go:

The process to recov­er your OSX Mac Mail and Inter­net Accounts from the ​‘Unable to ver­i­fy account name or pass­word' issue.

  1. Open your email account in sys­tem preferences

  2. Choose the email account to verify

  3. Note that your pass­word field is blank

  4. Fill in the password

  5. Press Tab to move to the next field (Impor­tant!)

  6. Enjoy your email life

Details on how to fix OSX when you are unable to ver­i­fy account name or password in Apple Mail

Let's go through the process in more detail. It took me a while to sort this out but it is in fact very simple.

Open Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and then Inter­net accounts.

You will have a list of your email accounts and oth­er inter­net ser­vices on the left.

Apple system preferences - Internet accounts
Apple system preferences - Internet accounts

For account where you have your own server:

Click on your account and a few sec­onds lat­er you get the pop­up ask­ing for your password.

Press can­cel here as noth­ing you enter will validate.

Once you have can­celled you will see the Mail account details:

Apple system preferences - Internet accounts
Apple system preferences - Internet accounts

Please note the pass­word field is blank — enter your account’s pass­word here and then press the tab but­ton to move the focus out of the pass­word field — the sys­tem will then check the account and pass­word and if you have the cor­rect pass­word it will validate.

Do the same for each email account.

Eas­i­er than rein­stalling OSX…

For accounts like Google mail, Face­book, Linkedin etc I delet­ed the account and cre­at­ed a new one.


So it looks like the Keychain Access is used to val­i­date your pass­word and because I had changed my login pass­word, all the pass­words stored for those accounts had been delet­ed. This is a very frus­trat­ing bug in OSX and I would have expect­ed bet­ter from Apple but it may be an edge case that rarely hap­pens and oth­er fac­tors may be at play with key­chain keep­ing us secure.


And there is more...

From the amount of traf­fic and com­ments I have been hav­ing this might not be such a niche issue! Come on Apple!

13th Feb­ru­ary 2019 Update

Just had a com­ment from Pad­dyC stat­ing that he found anoth­er solu­tion as mine was not work­ing for him — this may help oth­ers! Thank you PaddyC!

But, in the Mac Mail > Pref­er­ences > Accounts dia­logue win­dow, I found that there was no pass­word in the Out­go­ing Mail Serv­er sec­tion of both accounts (click on desired account then on Serv­er Set­tings). Sim­ply putting the pass­word in here and click­ing the save but­ton got every­thing work­ing prop­er­ly again.

26 February 2021 Update

Michelle McClintock has left a message explaining how she was able to fix a similar issue. Worth checking if the other solutions do not work for you:

I went into iCloud Keychain. Searched for my email account. Right clicked and went for Get Info - then noticed there was some random password in there that I have never seen before. It wasn't my old password and it wasn't my new password. Deleted it. Added new password in Keychain. Re-opened mail.


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