Email Client Configuration | OS X | Outlook 2013 | Thunderbird 31 | iPhone/iPad

Email Client Configuration


There are several ways to configure email clients, some settings are better for certain situations. The only settings that we don't allow are unencrypted passwords. We recommend that you encrypt everything, but older software may not be able to encrypt all communications. We may need to upgrade or find alternative software for those circumstances.

The reason why there are so many different ways to configure email is because over the last 40 years nobody has been able to define exactly how an email client should be configured and they used conflicting terminology for various settings.

Examples of different things that an email system can support include having email on multiple devices including smart phones (IMAP), encryption (SSL/TLS/STARTTLS), forwarding, aliases, vacation replies, reading email on a webpage, and reading email using a text based telnet or ssh terminal.

We are supporting some but not all of the examples I just listed. The features that we are supporting are based on the medium needs of the department email users. The old email server supported some features like text based telnet or ssh email. The new email server does not support that but does support new features like being able to read email on multiple devices. We will try to make sure that everyone's email needs are taken care of so if you have a need that isn't being met please let us know so we can address it.


You can configure your email client to connect via POP or IMAP. Each has its pros and cons. You need to decide what is best for you.

IMAP - Use this if you use multiple devices (more than one computer or smart phones). Because of the proliferation of devices that can read email IMAP is the most common setting now.

POP - Use this if you use only one computer and do not wish to store your email on the server. This was more useful when people had fewer computers and had slow internet connections. It is not very common anymore, but there is nothing technically wrong with it.


These are all encryption technologies. If you use encryption then you can use a plaintext password to authenticate.

The order of preference is as follows. "TLS" or "SSL/TLS", "SSL", "STARTTLS".

TLS and SSL are basically the same thing and are sometimes listed as SSL/TLS. If you have the option of choosing between TLS or SSL, use TLS. I'll refer to them as SSL/TLS.

When using SSL/TLS the port number will be 587 for SMTP, 993 for IMAP, and 995 for POP. If you see the SMTP port set to 465 change it to 587, the server does not have port 465 open.

If you want all of the gory details you can read more about it here.

Password vs Digest-MD5 vs CRAM-MD5

The mail server supports these authentication methods.

  • Password (cleartext) only when TLS/SSL/STARTTLS is enabled
  • Digest-MD5
  • Digest CRAM-MD5 (Challenge-Response Authentication Mechanism)

It doesn't really matter which one you choose. To keep things simple, just use "Password" and turn on SSL/TLS or STARTTLS. If your mail client does not support SSL/TLS or STARTTLS then hopefully it supports one of the other authentication methods.

Shared or Public Computers

We recommend you don't use a public or shared computer to read your email. We plan on eventually enabling Web browser access to your email, which will make it possible to use a shared computer (but still not entirely safe).

For the time being, if you must use a shared computer then do not check any of the options to remember the password and do not use POP3. If you check your email on a public computer, consider changing your password as soon as you can (obviously not using the public computer).

Changing your password

The biology mail server password is not synchronized with your campus uNID or CIS password. To change your biology mail password you need to use a web browser and login to the mail server at This is what you will see.

Enter your username and old password. If you have forgotten your password please contact the Biology computer support. Type in your new password. Your password must meet these requirements:

  • Different from your account name
  • Different from your old password
  • Contain at least eight characters
  • Must contain at least one letter, one numeric character, and one non-letter or non-numeric character

This is what you will see if your password does not meet the requirements.

Be sure to update your email client password to reflect this change.

To cancel or logout, just close the window.

Configuring specific clients