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Using AOL with Entourage

Contributed by Adam Bailey, Mac MVP

April 2004: AOL has launched IMAP and authenticated SMTP servers for US AOL members to access their mail -- dubbed Open Mail Access.

AOL's new free AIM.COM accounts can also use IMAP and are configured identically - except, of course, for replacing 'AOL.COM' with 'AIM.COM.'

AOL's official documentation can be found here.

AOL also has instructions specific to Entourage here.

Use the following step-by-step instructions, or see AOL's Entourage Instructions. See Accounts Setup for more information on creating a new IMAP account in Entourage.

  1. Choose Accounts from the Tools menu. You will be given a list of your current accounts (if any). Click on the New button in the upper-left corner of the window.
  2. You will be given a choice of types of accounts you can create. Choose IMAP.
  3. You will be presented with the Edit Account window (screenshot):
    • Account name: This is the descriptive name for your account. Choose whatever you want.
    • Include this account in my "Send & Receive All" schedule: Optional, decide if you want to check this account when checking others. See Schedules for more information.
    • Name: This is the name that people will see on your messages. Choose anything, but choose something you don't mind broadcasting to the world.
    • E-mail address: This must be your AOL email address. Remove any spaces and add "@aol.com" to the end. Case doesn't matter. For example, "1 Surfin Guy" becomes "1SurfinGuy@aol.com" or "1surfinguy@aol.com"
    • Account ID: Your AOL Screen Name. Remove any spaces, case doesn't matter.
    • IMAP server: Enter imap.aol.com.
    • Save password: Enter and save your AOL password here if your computer is secure. If not, leave this blank and you will be prompted prior to checking mail.
    • Click here for advanced receiving options: You do not need to modify any of these settings.
    • SMTP server: Enter smtp.aol.com.
  4. Click on Click here for advanced sending options. Check the box titled Override default SMTP port and type "587" into the corresponding box. Check the boxes titled SMTP server requires authentication and Use the same settings as incoming mail server
  5. Click on the Advanced tab (the Options tab settings are all optional). Uncheck the box titled Store special folders on IMAP server. (AOL is no longer automatically saving sent mail on the server, you have to do it yourself.) Check the box titled Mark messages as deleted. The Purge choices are optional if you don't want deleted messages stored on the server for a limited period of time (see Notes, below).
  6. Upon clicking OK, Entourage will contact the server and download your folders for you.


  1. AOL's IMAP server supports SSL, which will encrypt your data. To switch to SSL, change the server name from imap.aol.com to imap.cs.com and enable SSL by clicking on Click here for advanced receiving options and checking the box titled This IMAP service requires a secure connection. Note that this feature is not documented by AOL, is unsupported by AOL, and is not guaranteed to work forever.
  2. Unlike most IMAP servers, AOL will delete old messages from the "INBOX" and "Sent" folders. To keep them indefinitely, store them in a local Entourage folder or in the "Saved" IMAP folder.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Problems with mail getting deleted
  2. Entourage will send but not receive
  3. Attachments end in .mim extension

1) When I check my mail for my regular email account, it downloads the email to my computer where it stays forever, but also leaves a copy of the email on my mail server, in case I need to access it again somewhere else.

However, when I access my AOL account through Entourage, it does not seem to download the email to my computer, it just shows what is currently in my new mail folder, and if I read it, it does not stay on my computer for very long, and, in addition, is also marked as "Old Mail" on the AOL server, meaning that it disappears after just a couple of days after I've read it.

Is there a way to have my AOL mail kept in my computer after I've read it, or, even better, have that AND keep the mail marked as "new", even after I've read it in Entourage?

Create an IMAP rule that:

  If Account is (Your AOL Account)
        Move Message to (Your Inbox)

When you check your AOL account mail, it will just download everything to your Inbox. Read your mail there and leave the server entry alone.

OK, so I followed this advice and it worked, EXCEPT that on the AOL server, it moved all the messages to “Deleted Messages”. Is there any way to do this and keep the messages saved as new?

If you want the messages to also stay on the server then set the rule to Copy rather than Move. If you want the messages that were moved to your local Inbox to just "vanish" from the server, make repeating Schedule (Tools/ Schedules/New/, Repeat every 5 minutes) to Delete Mail from the Deleted Items folder on the IMAP server.

"Move" always means "Copy and Delete Original", and deleting means "Move to Deleted Items folder". If you delete that, the contents vanish.

Note: "Saved as New" is AOL's equivalent of "Mark Message as Unread" after reading it.

2) When I use AOL dial-up---either when out of town w/o wireless access, or my wireless at home goes down--Entourage will not send my emails, but it can receive them.

Your best bet is to use an outgoing SMTP server on a port other than 25. Your email provider may already have this. Check with them. Many now offer authenticated SMTP on port 587.

3) Attachments end in .mim extension. When I send a jpg picture to someone with an email account they a get a file with a .mim extension. What's causing this and how can I corrrect it?

Never send more than one attachment per email in or out of email. If you need to send multiple files, compress them together.

To compress a file:Select an item or items in the Finder.
Choose File > Create Archive.

If you archive a single item, the archived file has the name of the original item with a ".zip" extension. If you archive multiple items at once, the archived file is called Archive.zip.