macOS Mail won't clear out the outgoing SMTP server list

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PLEASE NOTE three symptoms in one that makes this extremely buggy:

    • going to "Edit SMTP server list..." and then deleting the items from the list window DOES NOT WORK
    • when I try to add new SMTP servers, my new server does not "stick" and is not choosable (and has no effect)
    • when I edit an existing one, any changes I make appear to stick only until I quit & relaunch Mail, after which Mail appears to REVERT to the old settings for my SMTP server list.

this has always been buggy (over the last 20 years), but only under Catalina 10.15.7 is this now no longer editable for me

1 Answer 1


Thank you to Andreas at Apple support for this excellent answer:

  1. counter-intuitively: the "Automatically manage settings" button for the OUTGOING is (mysteriously) TIED TO THE SAME BUTTON for the INCOMING SETTINGS.

If you are having trouble unchecking the "Automatically manage settings" on the OUTGOING section, you must first uncheck the same setting on the INCOMING section.

  1. All the SMTP servers should have unique settings. If you try to save another outgoing SMTP server with the same domain, it will detect it and complain

  2. If you try to use (-) to delete a SMTP server off the list, be sure it has NO ATTACHED mailboxes to it. Quit & restart Mail to see the item removed, and recheck to confirm it is no longer there. (Sometimes it comes back, even if you follow these steps. However, I was able to remove all of the ones I wanted removed by repeating the steps. Once it is truly removed it appears not to come back anymore.)

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