I have a client I set up with an e-mail workaround. His domain service provider provided only POP e-mail while he, like most people with multiple devices, needed IMAP (which these days you’d call cloud e-mail).
I kept his work domain but routed everything through Gmail, which had the added benefit of the best spam filters in the world. His e-mail looked like it came from his-domain.ca, and all replies to him went to his-domain.ca, but Gmail was the way station between his-domain.ca and all his desktop and mobile devices.
Everything worked great for years until yesterday. His Mail application (I dislike that name even more than I dislike the application itself) stopped sending and retrieving his e-mail. I thought it was a problem at his domain provider and told him to hold tight while they no doubt fixed it overnight. This morning, things were still awry.
His other devices could access and send mail just fine. He called his domain provider and they recommended he access their IMAP server directly. Then he called me in.
It sounds like it was an authentication issue, right? I could log in to his Gmail page in a browser without a problem, so I knew I had the correct password and account name, but using them in Mail did not help. A quick look at Mail’s Connection Doctor showed that we could not access Gmail to get mail or its SMTP server to send mail.
While waiting for his domain provider to call me to help work this out, I had an idea. The browser passwords are stored separately from the system passwords. What would happen if I deleted all traces of his Google account from Mac OS X?
I opened the Keychain Access utility and looked at all the Google entries. There were four. I forget exactly what they were, but one was an authentication expiry, one was a new deadline, etc. I looked at the entries and nothing seemed particularly troublesome, but since I knew how to log in, deleting them would do no lasting harm.
I tried deleting the youngest first, but the entry would immediately be rebuilt – no good. So I deleted them starting from the oldest. In doing so, I got a system notification that I would have to log in again, which heartened me.
I closed Keychain Access and went back to Mail. I put in the requested password and poof – everything was working perfectly.
I didn’t find this solution when I looked, so I decided to write this to advance such obscure human knowledge through Google searches.