Migrating Verizon.net Email to AOL Mail on a Mac

My Mom has a verizon.net email address. Recently, Verizon sent out notices informing everyone that they would stop handling email, and recommended migrating to AOL.

“I won’t have an aol.com email address, will I?” asked my Mom.

I assured her that she wouldn’t. At first I simply updated the server settings, but in recent days things became unreliable. She could still receive email through POP3, but could not send mail. I also wanted to move her to IMAP. This took three hours and the help of a knowledgeable Verizon tech named Dan to figure out, so I wanted to document the procedure for any other Moms or anyone else in this situation. The AOL help does not include instructions for Apple Mail. That would make it too easy.

This looks kind of scary, but it works. And before I begin, if you don’t keep regular backups then you really should. On a Mac this means buying an external USB hard drive and setting up Time Machine. The procedure to migrate your account involves deleting your existing verizon.net account and creating a brand new account on AOL. Your messages will disappear but they will return if you do this correctly.

Open System Preferences, located in the Apple menu. Go to Accounts. Remove all of the accounts associated with verizon.net. If you have other accounts such as iCloud or Gmail you can leave those alone.

Now add an account. Select AOL for the account type. Enter your email address, for example whatever@verizon.net. Enter the password and continue.

If you get a warning about a duplicate account, do the following. Open Mail and go to its preferences. Go to accounts and remove any lingering verizon.net email accounts. Close mail’s preferences. Return to creating an account in your System preferences. It gets a little confusing since you have several types of accounts.

It will tell you that you need to create a custom account. For the account type, select IMAP. For the outgoing server, enter imap.aol.com. For the incoming server, enter smtp.aol.com. Hit Create, and with a bit of luck your account should show up in the list of accounts, and your emails should return.

That hurt my head. My mom gave me an apple pastry from La Colombe as a reward. If this post helps someone else in this situation then it will seem worth it.