When mail doesn’t work

So, as most of my regular readers know, we are heavy Apple users, including MacOS and various iStuff. This means for email, I use the mail apps that are shipped with both my MacOS and iOS devices.

thNow, I’ve been in the high technology business for a very long time and I’m very tolerant when bugs and other issues pop up when using various technologies.  In fact, I usually attempt to work the issues that I find with the vendor if they are receptive (and frankly, most aren’t).

However, there are a small list of features that absolutely, positively must work. When they don’t work, it has a major impact on your workflow and ability to do what you need to do on a computer.

Mail is one of these features. When email doesn’t work, it’s very disruptive. That is the topic of this post …

When I upgraded my Macs to the latest version of MacOS, El Capitan (10.11), I was dismayed to learn that the mail app didn’t work nicely with my email servers. The problem is that it kept reloading my inbox, which for long periods of time meant that the inbox was not useful as what was displayed was not in date order and what was on time were very old messages. It also impacted my backup solutions, since instead of backing up a few tens of MB was now backing up many GB several times over a couple day period, which can get expensive.

Interestingly, it continued to work normally for all my iOS apps, as well as other mail apps on MacOS, including Microsoft Outlook. A large number of other MacOS users saw this problem. The only other common attribute was that the email server solutions are provided by GoDaddy.

One support thread that I used in my search for a solution can be found here. As you can see, I proactively worked with both Apple support and GoDaddy support (who hosts our email). Generally, I was very impressed with Apple support, until they decided that the problem was with GoDaddy and they disengaged.  GoDaddy support on the other hand was pretty useless and pointed to the El Capitan mail app as the problem and not their problem. They also used it to attempt up-sell me to a more expensive email solution.

My workaround is to use an alternate mail app, in my case Outlook, which is oh-kay, but not great since, moving from the MacOS mail app has broken some of the features that I using like filtering. (Yes, I know Outlook has filtering also, but I’ve set up many filters on Apple Mail.)

So, what can we learn from this fiasco:

  • First and foremost, the more vendors that need to interact, the easier it is for each to point fingers at each other.  In this case, Apple and GoDaddy simply blamed the other.
  • The quality of the support options is important, though in this particular case, it fell flat. Until this particular problem, I’ve been very impressed with Apple support. Besides the Genius Bar, there is on-line and phone support.  On the latter, most consumer products force you to pay for phone support. Apple does not.
  • When dealing with technology, one needs to be flexible. The workaround in this case was to change out the mail app. As noted, not a complete solution, but it’s a workaround.
  • Use the various support forums to see if others are seeing the problem. The more folks that see the problem, the more pressure is applied to the vendors to provide solutions.

Oh yeah, regarding the GoDaddy up-sell … stay tuned …

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