Hotmail IMAP on Mac Mail

It has been more than 10 years I have been using Hotmail and the one feature I have been yearning for was IMAP on Hotmail (now outlook.com). Every other web based email provider has it, Yahoo has it, Google has it but my primary mail has always been hotmail. I have lost more than 5 years of mails just because while configuring email with POP Protocol, the mail client was set to download messages from the server. There was no way of putting the mail back to the server once downloaded and there was no economically feasible way to take a backup of the mails back then. Also, there is the other problem of deleting and moving mails on your Laptop as well as doing the same on the Web Mail. With a recent announcement from Microsoft, Outlook.com has begun supporting IMAP protocol. With this, we can configure the Mac mail with IMAP and enjoy the beauty of IMAP with Hotmail.

Setting up Mac mail with Outlook.com using IMAP

This guide is specifically for Macs but the same values can be used for other Email clients as well.

1. Open Mac Mail.
2. From the File menu, choose Add Account.

Enter your full name and enter your email ID as “first part of your email ID”@example.com. If you enter @hotmail.com, the Mac mail will automatically connect to Hotmail and will get the default settings of POP Protocol which we do not want.Mac mail add acount

3. Click on continue. The next screen will ask your for incoming mail server settings. Choose the Account type as IMAP. Enter any description you want for the mail. Enter the incoming mail server as imap-mail.outlook.com. In the username field, enter your actual email address as john.doe@hotmail.com. In the password field, enter your actual password.Incoming mail server

4. Click on continue. The next screen will ask your for Outgoing mail server settings. Enter the description whatever you please in the description field. In the Outgoing mail server field, enter smtp-mail.outlook.com. Check mark “use only this server”. Also, check mark on “use authentication”. Re enter your hotmail user ID and password.Outgoing mail server

5. Click on Continue. Mac mail will detect the settings of the mail server. At any time if you are given the option to use SSL, select it.

6. Click on Continue and check “Take Account Online”. Click Create.

7. Click preferences on the mail menu and go to Accounts. Select the Account you have just created and change the email ID to your actual email ID of hotmail.com. By now your hotmail folders should now be seen in the Mac Mail.

Customizing Folders

When your Hotmail folders are replicated to your Mac, you will have 2 sets of important folders like Trash, Sent, etc. We need the Mac mail to map the Trash to Hotmail’s “Deleted” folder. Similarly, we want Mac mail to map Sent to Sent of Hotmail. We will take the example of Trash here. There will be a list of all your Hotmail folders on the side. Select the Deleted folder and go to Mailbox. Here go to “Use this mailbox for” and select Trash. Similarly, select Junk folder from your hotmail folders and go to Mailbox>Use this mailbox for>Junk. Similarly for Sent and Drafts. In my case, the drafts folder was already mapped.

Allow the mails to download and synchronize and enjoy Hotmails IMAP.

I hope my post has been helpful in your life but the only guide which can help you in the hereafter is the Qur’an. You can download the English translation of the Qur’an here.

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20 thoughts on “Hotmail IMAP on Mac Mail

  1. On my mac it automatically makes it a pop account when I setup a new account. There is no screen that lets me choose IMAP like your second screen shows.

    • As I said, you must not enter your true hotmail id in the beginning. If you do, it will automatically default to POP. You must enter a fake mail provider like example.com which will cause the auto detection to fail and then you can select imap from the drop down.

  2. I’ve noticed that some folders that originally do show up, disappears after a few minutes once the inbox starts loading. How do I get the folders to show up and for the emails in those folders to be downloaded to the mac mail again?

    • The syncing process is a slow process, so my suggestion would be for you to wait for the all your mails to be downloaded and then see whether all your online folders reflect or not.

  3. Still nothing, its been a couple of bizarre and I thought its reloaded all the messages and it’s stopped. But it seems to be reloading another round of “incoming messages”.

  4. Sorry another Q, would we need to do anything in the system preferences for “mail, contacts & preferences” . Really new to Mac. Thanks

  5. It now looks to be all synced, however I have noticed that when I delete an email from mac mail, it doesn’t delete from actual hotmail nor from my iPhone. Seem to now have to delete twice from the devices. Can you help?

  6. Thank you so much for this. I was missing my hotmail folders. I can see that one person complaining about how long it took to sync all the folders. In my case, 9 thousand emails took about 2 minutes. Pretty amazing! Thank you again.

    • How did you get all your emails to sync so quickly. Its been over 2 days and my IMAP hotmail account hasn’t synced all my emails (5000+) from hotmail. Additionally it really really slow. What am I doing wrong? I have super fast internet so that shouldn’t be limiting it. Thanks for any advice in advance

      • It is not necessary that a fast Internet connection should result in a faster download. The maximum speed depends upon the slowest link between you and the server. In some cases, the servers are slow. Different people have got different results, so I would suggest you to wait and watch. Also, if possible, let the download take a break and resume it later on.

  7. I agree with the person who mentioned the need of creating a fake account to be able to choose IMAP. That’s why I did. Worked pretty well.

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