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Why does my Mac Mail programme keep turning on the SSL option?

669 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Mar 11, 2013 10:05 PM by Linc Davis RSS
Peter Best1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 11, 2013 12:08 AM

For a couple of years now my wife's Mac Mail programme has from time to time stopped getting most of the emails sent to it for a week or more. I've wasted many hours on the phone to our service provider without ever getting to the bottom of the problem. Now I believe I know what's been happening. It seems that her Mail preferences keep turning on the SSL option without any human involvement. Apparently emails sent to an SSL selected email address will only make it into her in-box if they come from an SSL selected mail programme. Yesterday, scratching my head as to why, once again, few emails were getting through, I once again looked at the preferences and noticed that the SSL option, which I had recently unchecked, was once again checked. I unchecked it. It immediately re-checked itself. I unchecked it. It immediately re-checked itself. And so on, for ten minutes when, suddenly, it remained unchecked.

Why is this happening? My wife never, and I mean never fiddles with settings on her computer and nobody else uses it. The checking of the SSL option is being done entirely at the behest of the machine itself. Can anybody tell me how this could be happening? And could anybody tell me how I can stop it from happening again?

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,390 points)

    Problems such as yours are sometimes caused by files that should belong to you but are locked or have wrong permissions. This procedure will check for such files. It makes no changes and therefore will not, in itself, solve your problem.

    First, empty the Trash.

    Triple-click the line below to select it, then copy the selected text to the Clipboard (command-C):

    find ~ $TMPDIR.. \( -flags +sappnd,schg,uappnd,uchg -o ! -user $UID -o ! -perm -600 -o -acl \) 2> /dev/null | wc -l

    Launch the Terminal application in any of the following ways:

    ☞ Enter the first few letters of its name into a Spotlight search. Select it in the results (it should be at the top.)

    ☞ In the Finder, select Go Utilities from the menu bar, or press the key combination shift-command-U. The application is in the folder that opens.

    ☞ Open LaunchPad. Click Utilities, then Terminal in the icon grid.

    Paste into the Terminal window (command-V). The command may take a noticeable amount of time to run. Wait for a new line ending in a dollar sign (“$”) to appear.

    The output of this command, on a line directly below what you entered, will be a number such as "41." Please post it in a reply.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,250 points)

    Unless you identify the mail system in use it is not possible to frame a reply.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,390 points)

    Back up all data. Don't continue unless you're sure you can restore from a backup, even if you're unable to log in.

    This procedure will unlock all your user files (not system files) and reset their ownership and access-control lists to the default. If you've set special values for those attributes on any of your files, they will be reverted. In that case, either stop here, or be prepared to recreate the settings if necessary. Do so only after verifying that those settings didn't cause the problem. If none of this is meaningful to you, you don't need to worry about it.

    Step 1

    If you have more than one user account, and the one in question is not an administrator account, then temporarily promote it to administrator status in the Users & Groups preference pane. To do that, unlock the preference pane using the credentials of an administrator, check the box marked Allow user to administer this computer, then reboot. You can demote the problem account back to standard status when this step has been completed.

    Triple-click the following line to select it. Copy the selected text to the Clipboard (command-C):

    { sudo chflags -R nouchg,nouappnd ~ $TMPDIR.. ; sudo chown -Rh $UID:staff ~ $_ ; sudo chmod -R u+rwX ~ $_ ; chmod -R -N ~ $_ ; } 2> /dev/null

    Paste into the Terminal window (command-V). You'll be prompted for your login password, which won't be displayed when you type it. You may get a one-time warning to be careful. If you don’t have a login password, you’ll need to set one before you can run the command. If you see a message that your username "is not in the sudoers file," then you're not logged in as an administrator.

    The command will take a noticeable amount of time to run. Wait for a new line ending in a dollar sign (“$”) to appear, then quit Terminal.

    Step 2 (optional)

    Step 1 should give you usable permissions in your home folder. This step will restore special attributes set by OS X on some user folders to protect them from unintended deletion or renaming. You can skip this step if you don't consider that protection to be necessary, and if everything is working as expected after step 1.

    Boot into Recovery by holding down the key combination command-R at startup. Release the keys when you see a gray screen with a spinning dial.

    When the OS X Utilities screen appears, select

    Utilities Terminal

    from the menu bar. A Terminal window will open.

    In the Terminal window, type this:


    Press the tab key. The partial command you typed will automatically be completed to this:


    Press return. A Reset Password window will open. You’re not  going to reset a password.

    Select your boot volume ("Macintosh HD," unless you gave it a different name) if not already selected.

    Select your username from the menu labeled Select the user account if not already selected.

    Under Reset Home Directory Permissions and ACLs, click the Reset button.



    from the menu bar.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,390 points)

    When you uncheck the SSL box, the port number should change from 993 to 143 for an IMAP server, or from 995 to 110 for a POP server. Is that what happens?

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,390 points)

    Those are the port numbers for an outgoing (SMTP) server. I thought we were talking about a problem with incoming mail. If we are, then the settings for the outgoing mail server are irrelevant.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (107,390 points)

    I'm not irritated. I'm trying to clarify what is going on. If you're seeing those port numbers, then you're in the settings for an outgoing mail server. No matter what is going on with that server, it can't have any effect on your ability to receive mail -- only on your ability to send.


    So if that's where you have the problem with the SSL checkbox, it's a non-issue. The real issue is what's going on with the incoming mail server.


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