What are the limitations of iCloud+ own domain in regard to emails?

Use Custom Email Domain with iCloud Mail


I am looking for:

  • a single domain which I already own
  • 3 email boxes for 3 family members (me, partner, kid)
  • two emails that is forwarded somewhere else (grandparents use a different email but share our domain, could be 2 extra email boxes if forwarding without an email box is not supported)
  • 15 aliases for my own email (I have many aliases yeah)

Everything looks straightforward (MX, TXT, setup) but I need to know in advance before I commit to the change. Google Apps free tier is closing and I am not interested in buying Google's full package - I only use Gmail and YouTube.

I read that there might be limitation of 5 domains (okay), 3 accounts (are these email boxes?) and 3 aliases (what?). That is really weird.


  • This limited roll out isn’t weird for Apple. It’s their go to playbook, IMO. Get Fastmail for a year if you need more than the offering would be my advice. They are AMAZING to work with but will cost more than a free iCloud add on.
    – bmike
    Jan 20, 2022 at 16:26
  • Yeah. I already use cloudflare for DNs and I was thinking their Email Routing offering which is currently in beta. That coukd help me with grandparents.
    – lzap
    Jan 20, 2022 at 16:47

2 Answers 2


I would plan that you lose all aliases you don’t assign and have strictly three aliases per user for a total of 15 distinct mail addresses.

I won’t be moving my work / consulting domain off of Fastmail since I need more than three aliases. I will likely make a personal domain since iCloud has this new feature.

My hunch is Apple won’t budge for at least a year on increased domains and aliases but would if lots of people use it and hit the limit regularly over a period of a year.

  • One domain for the entire family.
  • Max of five members in the family
  • Max of three emails per iCloud account in the family.

I would like to add a couple of other limitations not mentioned. For a custom domain transfer from another provider, Apple will not download your old messages stored on your previous provider's server over to iCloud. It also won't assign it to its own mailbox in the mail app, which creates two issues.

First, there's a possibility of losing your stored messages if you didn't keep a local copy or relied on a web based mail client. To solve this, create another mail app account for your custom domain, if you don't have one already, and use it to connect to your current mail provider. Check your mail and make sure your account is set to read all old and new messages. It may take a while if you have a lot of mail, but when it's done, all your old mail should be stored in its own mailbox.

Second, since both your iCloud email address and your custom domain are on the same account, they are filed under the same mailbox. This makes it easy to confuse the two email addresses when replying and composing messages. It also makes it difficult to keep separate setting for each. So far, the best you can do is to create a special rule to file them into separate folders, which is less than ideal and won't isolate the two accounts.

  • You can create a smart folder in Mail to trap all messages to a given to: address. Oct 18, 2022 at 10:50
  • You CAN transfer email from your previous provider: Import existing email messages to iCloud Mail from your custom email domain.
    – Inigo
    Aug 28, 2023 at 22:37
  • @Inigo, Hmmm. The feature was probably added recently. I signed up for the service before it was cool. 😎
    – ATL_DEV
    Aug 29, 2023 at 4:54
  • @KirkMcElhearn, The problem with my smart folders and rules is that they're local and not cloud based. So on your other devices, some of the rules don't work.
    – ATL_DEV
    Aug 29, 2023 at 5:00
  • 1
    You can set up mail rules on icloud.com.
    – nohillside
    Aug 29, 2023 at 5:39

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