Suppose I turn on the setting for Mail in the iCloud preferences pane. What does this actually do? I've never turned this on; I have a vague memory that I once did, and that bad/weird things happened with my mail (messages getting synced in ways that I didn't want or something). But it's so long ago that I no longer remember, and now I'm wondering if I should just get over it and turn it on.

If this syncs the details of my mail accounts across my OS X / iOS devices, that'd be nice. Does it do anything else?

1 Answer 1


This is the iCloud Mail service. Turning it on provides the iCloud mail account for Mail.app to use, nothing more. It is basically an automated method of entering the iCloud mail server information into Mail.app to configure your @icloud.com email account, per this Apple KB article:

It does not sync other accounts in any way - settings or emails of other accounts are not affected by this setting, just your @icloud.com or @me.com account.

You can read more about iCloud Mail at this Apple KB article:

  • 1
    Got it; thanks! FWIW, is there a way to get my mail accounts synced across devices -- if I add an account to my Mac, it automatically shows up on my iPad?
    – Jim Miller
    Nov 21, 2013 at 0:50
  • @JimMiller iTunes can sync mail accounts to iOS devices, and iTunes Wi-Fi Sync means that this can be done OTA, but there's no actual method for cloud-syncing mail accounts.
    – grg
    Nov 21, 2013 at 7:24
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    This is no longer entirely true. It now syncs the configuration of smart mailboxes. Jan 12, 2022 at 1:46

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