Mangled Mail? That’ll Be the New Cat

Mail icon

Ooops. Seems I spoke too soon. TidBITS reports that some users who upgraded to Snow Leopard, Apple’s latest incarnation of its Mac OS X operating system, have been experiencing problems sending email using the native email client, Mail.app.

When trying to send mail, hapless users have been getting an error message that reads “Error 54: Connection Reset By Peer.”

Of course, I know what you’re thinking. “Error 54?” you’re saying, as you stroke your Tech Guy Beard of Truth, “Sounds like an issue with port rotation. I probably need to update my SMTP settings.”

A quick look at the newly added Article TS2998 over on Apple’s Support Knowledge Base confirms your Oracle-like insight. According to Apple:

In Mac OS X v10.6, Mail sends messages through a different port rotation for the “Default ports” setting. Your authentication settings for your Mail account (for outgoing messages) may need to be updated.

Just follow step-by-step instructions for updating the offending account’s SMTP server settings.

Several days ago, during Gmail’s recent hiccup, I had just upgraded my machines to Snow Leopard and found I couldn’t send mail from my Gmail account. At the time, I assumed it was caused by the server difficulties Google was having and, seeking a quick and easy fix, I removed the account from Mail and have been using Safari to check my Gmail ever since. It seems, perhaps, I was wrong to assume it was Google’s problem. Perhaps I was experiencing exactly the problem described above.

I don’t feel too foolish for failing to suspect my new big cat was the culprit; after all, everything else works perfectly. Following such a major upgrade, all my hardware and software work exactly as they did on the old feline. I’d like to extend the metaphor a little further — probably something about cats toying with their prey — but I’m gonna stop before it gets outta hand.

Have you experienced the same problem with Mail? Did the fix Apple recommend work for you? Is this a bug in Snow Leopard, or the result of Mail becoming a more secure email client? Share your thoughts with me in the comments, and I promise I won’t use the cat metaphor again.

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