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How to Set Up Custom Email Domains with iCloud Mail

Apple is now testing an iCloud Mail characteristic that energy customers have requested for years: customized e-mail domains. What does that imply? Most individuals use free e-mail companies like iCloud Mail and Gmail, the place all e-mail addresses use a pre-specified area. For occasion, when you use iCloud Mail, your deal with shall be one thing like [email protected] (or [email protected] and even [email protected] when you’re old-school cool). Likewise, when you use a free Gmail account, your deal with is alongside the strains of [email protected]

However, when you personal a customized area identify, like tidbits.com or joshcenters.com, many e-mail companies allow you to use that area on your e-mail deal with. That provides a number of benefits:

  • It allows you to customise your e-mail deal with.
  • It appears to be like extra skilled—you’re not simply one in all a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of iCloud customers.
  • You can migrate your e-mail deal with to another e-mail service supplier that helps customized domains.

Things to Know Before You Move Your Email Address

You can now check customized area assist on the iCloud beta website. However, there are essential caveats:

  • Do not transfer your major e-mail area to iCloud Mail but, for the reason that characteristic continues to be in beta. (There are different causes to not depend on iCloud Mail as your primary e-mail service that I’ll define under.)
  • You can ship outgoing e-mail from a customized e-mail deal with solely with the betas of macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15, and iPadOS 15, not from at present delivery variations of Apple’s working programs.
  • You can’t transfer only one deal with at a website to iCloud Mail. It’s all or nothing. For occasion, we couldn’t transfer [email protected] to iCloud and go away [email protected] behind.
  • You can solely arrange a customized e-mail area for an iCloud account that has an iCloud e-mail deal with related with it. (For historic causes, Adam Engst’s major Apple ID is [email protected], has no related iCloud e-mail deal with, and wouldn’t permit him to handle customized domains.)
  • You should be a subscriber to iCloud+, Apple’s new identify for iCloud paid plans. If you already pay for iCloud storage, you’re routinely in.
  • You should be in a position to obtain e-mail at your customized e-mail deal with earlier than you set it up at iCloud as a result of Apple wants to ship it a affirmation message. I clarify how to get round that catch-22 under.
  • Apple doesn’t at present present any instruments to switch current e-mail messages from one other e-mail supplier to your iCloud account. Macworld UK explains how to use the Mail app on the Mac to move messages from Gmail to iCloud, which ought to work for any e-mail account arrange in Mail. Although the article’s steps look cheap, we haven’t examined them with hundreds of messages, so proceed at your individual threat and make certain to confirm that messages have transferred accurately.
  • You can arrange 5 distinctive domains with an iCloud Mail account, however every particular person can have solely three distinctive addresses per area, all of which ship to that particular person’s iCloud inbox. Services like QuickMail provide many extra, although you might have to pay for extra customers. In quick, iCloud Mail continues to be solely an answer for people and households, not for organizations.

I personally don’t rely upon iCloud Mail for something aside from testing. The lack of customized area assist was one purpose, however I don’t see myself switching even now. iCloud Mail lacks most of the superior choices of different e-mail suppliers and has been identified to silently filter messages, with no approach to get better the messages and even know they have been despatched.

However, there are some good causes to use iCloud Mail, particularly when you’ve purchased into the Apple ecosystem:

  • Easy integration and quick system setup. All you might have to do is log in to your iCloud account to ship and obtain e-mail.
  • Push notifications for e-mail messages that notify you instantly once you obtain a message. (Fastmail is the one third-party service I do know that provides this for Apple gadgets.)
  • Economical use of paid iCloud cupboard space.

How to Buy a Domain

Apple doesn’t promote domains, so that you’ll have to purchase one from a website registrar earlier than organising a customized e-mail deal with. Entire books have been written about area buying and administration, however the course of is comparatively easy. Here are some registrars that we at TidBITS have used efficiently:

I at present host my domains with Epik due to the corporate’s robust civil liberties stances and excellent 24/7 assist. However, when you’re new to area registration, I might steer you towards Hover. It’s essentially the most user-friendly registrar I’ve used, full with glorious phone assist. If you begin with one area registrar and wish to swap to one other, you possibly can switch your domains at any time, although you often have to pay for an additional 12 months once you accomplish that.

Once you personal a website, make certain to renew it yearly or pay for a multi-year registration. Set your self a reminder to renew it at the least a number of weeks earlier than it expires. When the renewal day comes up, be sure your cost info is up to date. I as soon as almost misplaced my joshcenters.com area due to a cost snafu with Hover. Domain squatters typically scoop up lapsed domains and take a look at to resell them again to their house owners at exorbitant costs.

You will need to have a sound e-mail deal with at your area to set it up with iCloud Mail as a result of Apple sends a affirmation message to that deal with. If you’re organising a brand new e-mail deal with, it’s a little bit of a catch-22, however don’t fear, most registrars allow you to create a free forwarding deal with that can do the job. Just bear in mind to do it earlier than you begin configuring your area in iCloud Mail.

Below is a screenshot of me organising a forwarding deal with for one in all my Epik domains. I set it up so [email protected] forwards any e-mail it obtained to my primary e-mail deal with. That enabled me to obtain Apple’s affirmation message.

Setting up email forwarding on Epik

(I purchased mannsplaining.web when my good friend Sonya Mann and I have been pondering of beginning a podcast known as Mannsplaining. Sadly, we each later realized we had nowhere close to sufficient time to host a podcast, and I haven’t used the area for something since.)

Setting Up a Custom Domain with iCloud Mail

With all of the caveats out of the way in which, let’s have a look at the method of organising your customized area to work with iCloud Mail:

  1. In Safari, go to beta.icloud.com and enter your login credentials. Note that the iCloud beta works solely with the most recent variations of Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Annoyingly, that checklist doesn’t embody Brave.
  2. Click Account Settings.
    iCloud beta Account Settings
  3. Scroll down to Custom Email Domain and click on Manage.
    Manage custom domain
  4. Choose whether or not you need to use the area for less than a private deal with or for your loved ones. Only You might be the secure selection for now.
    Choose only you or you and your family
  5. Enter your area and click on Continue. After doing this, you obtain an e-mail to your iCloud deal with with extra directions, although the iCloud web site will proceed guiding you thru the method.
    Enter custom domain
  6. Enter all the e-mail addresses you need to affiliate with your area. You can add extra later, however you might miss messages despatched to these addresses within the meantime. Click the + icon to add extra. Remember, you possibly can add solely three e-mail addresses.
    Enter custom email address
  7. Click Add Email Address. You are requested to affirm that you simply’ve added all your e-mail addresses. Click Confirm when you’re certain. Don’t fret, as a result of e-mail won’t be redirected till you alter your registrar’s settings.
    Confirm email address

If you forgot to arrange an lively e-mail deal with earlier than beginning (raises hand), you possibly can click on Resend Verification Emails on this display to ship them once more.

Keep a watch in your e-mail inbox for the verification e-mail from Apple. Once you obtain it, open it and click on Verify. If your default browser isn’t supported by the iCloud Beta, you possibly can Control-Click the Verify button in Mail and select Open With > Safari or one other put in browser. In different e-mail shoppers, you ought to be in a position to Control-click Verify, copy the URL, and paste it into your browser.

Verify email address

You ought to see a message on the iCloud web site saying your deal with has been verified. Click OK.

Update Domain Registrar Settings

Here’s the place issues get tough—you would possibly need assistance out of your area registrar. You want to arrange the suitable DNS data with your registrar, and the way you try this varies by registrar. If you contact your registrar’s assist and supply the small print, they could have the option to arrange the data for you or at the least level you to the required directions.

In the best attainable phrases, DNS data are directions for the way DNS servers ought to deal with requests for a website. DNS stands for Domain Name System, and the gathering of interconnected DNS servers is what makes it attainable to go to a website like tidbits.com as an alternative of a numeric IP deal with.

To see the data you want, test your iCloud inbox for an e-mail titled “Finish setting up your custom domain,” however don’t observe that e-mail’s directions!

Here’s what Apple gives you:

  • Two TXT data that maintain info that stops e-mail spoofing
  • One MX document that specifies the place e-mail despatched to your area needs to be delivered
  • One CNAME document that factors visitors from one area to one other

You should accurately enter all of those DNS data on your area at your registrar’s website. If you miss any or make any errors, e-mail out of your area could also be routinely rejected or flagged by spam filters.

If you employ your area for companies aside from e-mail, these data shouldn’t intervene with these companies so long as you don’t exchange current entries. However, when you arrange e-mail forwarding with your registrar or already use your area with one other e-mail supplier, you want to delete the corresponding DNS entries for that supplier. (Record the deleted info in Notes or the like, simply in case you need to swap again.) I assume that when you’ve already arrange a customized e-mail area prior to now, you might have some thought of what you’re doing. Otherwise, I like to recommend contacting your registrar’s assist.

Reconfiguring DNS data gave me essentially the most bother as a result of the directions in Apple’s e-mail are mistaken! Until Apple fixes its e-mail, refer to Apple’s support document, which supplies the correct directions within the appropriate order. You will want to refer again to Apple’s e-mail for step 5, as a result of it has your distinctive Personal TXT entry.

Your registrar will probably look completely different, however as you possibly can see within the screenshot under, on Epik, I used to be in a position to go away all of the Host fields clean. But with the sig1.dkim.[example.com].at.icloudmailadmin.com. CNAME entry, be sure to exchange [example.com] with your area identify or the ultimate step will fail.

Entering iCloud MX records in Epik

Once you’ve accurately entered all of your DNS data at your registrar, return to iCloud settings and click on Finish Set Up. You’re requested to confirm that you simply’ve up to date your DNS data earlier than clicking Confirm.

If you simply up to date the data with your registrar, you might even see a DKIM error once you click on Confirm on the iCloud web page. There are a few issues to know:

  • DNS data can take some time to propagate all through the system, anyplace from a couple of minutes to a full day.
  • DKIM is an e-mail authentication scheme that tries to cut back spam. Without a sound DKIM document, your outgoing emails will probably all be flagged as spam.

In my case, I obtained the error as a result of I didn’t exchange [example.com] within the CNAME document. Oops! Once I corrected that, it labored immediately.

Finally, you want to specify which deal with you need to use as your default outgoing e-mail deal with.

Choose default email address

You’ll know it really works when you obtain a affirmation e-mail from iCloud. Your different gadgets may even ask if you’d like to use the brand new e-mail deal with for iMessage and FaceTime.

Prompt to add the new address to iMessage and FaceTime

Using Your New iCloud Address

Here’s what you want to know:

  • Your current icloud.com, me.com, and mac.com e-mail addresses work as they at all times have.
  • You can ship outgoing e-mail from one of many above addresses or from the brand new one you arrange.
  • Any e-mail despatched to your customized e-mail deal with ought to arrive in your iCloud inbox.

To select a unique outgoing e-mail deal with when composing a message, click on or faucet the deal with to the correct of the From area in Mail. In Mail on the iCloud beta web site, your new deal with reveals up immediately. In the iOS 15 beta, it took a couple of minutes to present up. However, it received’t present up in any respect within the non-beta iCloud Mail or in any of Apple’s at present delivery working programs.

Choosing the From address in iCloud webmail

Proceed with Caution

It’s nice that Apple has lastly added assist for customized domains to iCloud Mail, however I strongly encourage you to limit your utilization to testing. Beyond the truth that you possibly can solely ship e-mail from one of many betas of Apple’s upcoming working system releases, I simply can’t advocate that you simply belief mission-critical e-mail to a beta service. After Apple promotes the characteristic out of beta, a number of individuals will begin utilizing it, and we’ll get a way of how dependable it’s.

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