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For about a week (AOL keeps saying it's been a day or three days...and has been since I called them to complain this past Tuesday), AOL for Mac OS X has been really buggy...spinning beach ball to get to your mail, you click on a piece of mail and the cursor jumps halfway back up your mailbox. After five tries, maybe you can get to the piece of mail. Replying is another story. The experience of typing an e-mail is comparable to chipping out the words with a chisel, but probably slightly pokier. AOL is very hush-hush about this issue -- but if you call a Mac OS X tech at AOL, they'll tell you the last 20 people they talked to just complained of the same issue.

Apparently, AOL is "working very hard" to fix this. Right. Anyway, the last tech guy I talked to -- an American, with perfect English, thank goodness -- told me that "the address book isn't populating." I'm a bit dim when it comes to making sense of technology, but apparently, your AOL address book is also on their server, and the corruption is there, up on the mother ship.

Anyway, it's been a nightmare, and I've been leaving much of my e-mail unanswered...but an AOL tech just helped me with a techno-bandaid. You go into your USER file on your hard drive, and pull out the AOL Contacts for each of your screen names, and put them in a folder on the desk top. You can't access them, and the address book in your e-mail will be blank, so it's probably good to print them out first. They still exist on AOL's server, the tech told me, and are accessible right now from any Windows piece of crap, uh, computer. Sorry, I'm a bit testy. I even screamed at my dog yesterday for yapping at a squirrel, which is extremely embarrassing, considering she's only 2.5 pounds, and the squirrel was taunting her, and deserved it. Rant over. Now I must nap -- the weenie alternative to following through on promises to kill oneself if relatively minor technical difficulties aren't magically resolved.

Posted by aalkon at April 18, 2004 3:20 PM


Since AOL's email service now supports IMAP and Mac Mail supports IMAP, couldn't you just access your AOL mail that way?

Posted by: John Doe at April 18, 2004 10:03 PM

I don't want to stand on my head to pick up my e-mail, nor do I know if whatever IMAP is was corrupted as well. I use AOL because native (non web AOL) is fast and efficient and easy. Usually. Faster and easier than other means of access. Also, I've had the same e-mail address for about 12 years, and it's where I'm findable by a lot of people. I just want what I pay for to work.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 18, 2004 10:46 PM

You can now use the Mail application that came with OS X to read and send AOL mail.

The current oddities don't seem to affect it. And when AOL is fixed, you can use either AOL or Mail or both. It won't matter.

It's much faster, and reliable. Just be sure to create an "IMAP" account in Mail--it's a check off box.


Posted by: Lisa at April 18, 2004 11:08 PM

Sorry, but I'm a bit technically dim. How do you sign on? And does it affect mail in other ways? Can you "keep as new" and all of that? Do you sign on with a password?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 18, 2004 11:21 PM

Where is that check box? And does the mail still get saved on doesn't disappear, does it?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 18, 2004 11:31 PM

Here's the step by step instructions:

Launch Mail
Mail -> Preferences
Click the ACCOUNT button
Click the + at the bottom left of the ACCOUNT window to create a new account
If it isn't pre-selected, click on ACCOUNT INFORMATION
Choose IMAP from the pop-up menu
DESCRIPTION - Type anything that means something to you
FULL NAME - Amy Alkon
USER NAME - adviceamy
PASSWORD - your aol password

Type in - Click OK

Close the preference window, saving your changes

It should work after that. I had no idea AOL had opened up their system. Thanks to Lisa for pointing it out.

Posted by: Kevin at April 20, 2004 9:39 AM

AOL seems to be the one thing that can make a Mac behave like a PC. I steered clear of it for years, until my 13-year old daughter discovered IM'ing. Then the troubles began anew.

Posted by: The Prop at April 20, 2004 9:48 AM

Once Mail reads your mail from AOL, AOL will move it to the "Read Mail" mail box. And presumably delete it on whatever schedule they use.

Posted by: Kevin at April 20, 2004 9:54 AM

I followed all the steps you said to set up the account with Mail for my aol accounts, but I can't send an email. I receive and read all my emails but everytime I go to send one it tells me:

The sender address was rejected by the server


You can try to send using a different server. All messages will use this server until you quit or change your network settings.

Anybody know why????

thank you!

Posted by: Platon at April 22, 2004 10:15 PM

According to AdamKB's Unofficial AOL Email FAQ: "There appears to be an issue with the SMTP server not responding properly to AUTH PLAIN commands," the SMTP server, of course, being what sends your mail. Apparently AOL didn't set something up properly. Full info here:

I've been able to use the SMTP server from my ISP instead; just change your outgoing server to instead of Though the FAQ cautions that some spam filters may reject your message because it's from an AOL address but not an AOL server. Also, your sent emails will not end up in AOL's Sent folder.

Hope AOL fixes this soon. Think if enough of us Mac people annoy them about it, it'll get fixed?

Posted by: rueyeet at April 23, 2004 7:49 AM

I doubt it, AOL is such an exclusive bunch, they won't change anything unless they think it would benefit them and them alone.

Posted by: jimmyhoffa at November 6, 2004 5:33 PM