It looks like the Apple Mail application is not using the system's proxy settings. I have configured the proxy in the network system preferences, and all of my web browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) are using these settings, but Mail.app doesn't seem to.

I've tried to connect to an IMAP server, but the request always times out. When I check using netstat, I can see that Mail.app is trying to directly connect to the IMAP server without going through the proxy.

Is there a way to force Mail.app to go through the proxy?

This is on Snow Leopard.

  • 1
    The proxy is "just" a web proxy (for port 80), Mail uses different ports.
    – nohillside
    Oct 31, 2012 at 13:14
  • Yes, that seems to be the case - but is there a way to define a proxy for Mail.app? Without a way to specify a proxy, Mail looks completely useless if you have to work through a proxy/corporate firewall.
    – nwinkler
    Oct 31, 2012 at 13:19
  • Does apple.stackexchange.com/questions/54557/… help?
    – nohillside
    Oct 31, 2012 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


Use ProxyCap. Add there a "redirect" rule for the Mail.app bundle.

Note that a regular HTTP proxy will not work for Mail.app. You will need one of the following: SOCKS, SSH.


If you have ssh access to the machine you want to be a proxy, you can also do ssh -D 12345 proxy.server.com and configure your computer to use SOCKS proxy, using localhost and 12345 as proxy host and ports in the settings, accordingly. Obviously you can specify a different port, but it's best to keep it higher than 1024.

The -D option for ssh enables a built in SOCKS proxy, which you can use then to send all other traffic through. Please bear in mind that the traffic from terminal (telnet, ssh) will NOT go through the SOCKS proxy regardless of how you configure your network settings.

I would have uploaded relevant screenshots, but unfortunately the internet connection I use here is very slow - 256kbps satellite link, shared by around 50 people and a host of experiments!

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