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Our Thunderbird mail clients successfully pick up their IMAP settings for their accounts on (Mountain Lion) OS X Server automatically. They just supply their email addresses and Open Directory passwords at mail account setup and Thunderbird does the rest for the client user.

At autoconfig.myexample.com we simply supply a small XML file containing IMAP and SMTP server names and which connection protocols are offered.

Mac Mail does not use this convention though. So the question is: how does the Mac Mail client do autoconfigure - if at all?

I see many discussion threads concerning Mac Mail "autodetect"ing MS Exchange account settings but none answering the question re Mac Mail to IMAP accounts on OS X Server.

If Mac Mail can make it easy for Exchange users I assume that it can also make it easy to get their mail from OS X Server? But how?

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1 Answer 1

I did a little digging and found out a little of what OSX tries to do to auto-configure an email account.

In system preferences when adding a mail account, OSX makes a POST to https://mac-services.apple.com/iconfig/dconf the post parameters are:

version: 1
capabilities: MACOSX

For a service like gmail the following is returned:


Unfortunately, for my domain I receive the following response:


As far as I can tell after an unknown response OSX gives up and requires a user to enter the details manually. Capturing network packets I see no attempt by OSX to fallback to using SRV DNS records, or the Exchange Autodiscover.xml mechanism.

If I get a chance I will open a support ticket with apple to see how one gets added to their mac-services list.

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Did you get anything from Apple on registering an organisation's auto discover info with them? –  iainH Aug 17 at 9:25
No, I never did open a support ticket. You can use OSX Server Profile Manager to help setup accounts on a system, see apple.com/support/osxserver/profilemanager –  Josh Aug 18 at 15:32

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